By David Jackson (LSI Animator and contact person for the Diocese of Leeds) 

As we approach the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical LAUDAT SI – Care for our Common Home (2015) – ten Laudato Si Animators (Advocates) mainly representing the Northern Dioceses met at Hinsley Hall on Friday 14th June for a day of shared reflection, discernment by way of  ‘Conversations in the Spirit’ and contemplation.

This ‘Community Encounter’ was part of a national, continental and then global LSI Movement process of reflection and consultation round three connected questions:

  1. What have been your experiences of being part of LSM? The joys, surprises, challenges?
  2. What is the Spirit calling us to do to fully live the messages of Laudato Si in our parish, diocese?
  3. What dreams do we have for our diocese in the light of the last ten years of LSI?

The aim being to contribute to global attempt to identify more clearly LSM aims, mission, goals and values world wide. 

We used periods of guided silent contemplation and a mindful walk in the open air to open us to the breath of the Spirit – through the four elements of the natural world – air, water, fire and earth – despite and even assisted by the rain! We ended by presenting our experiences and hopes in picture/diagrammatic form.

We used the synodal method of  ‘Conversations in the Spirit’ as the framework for seeking answers to the questions: each person spoke uninterrupted for 3 minutes; each input then followed by a one minute silence; similarly we then shared our impressions before agreeing a short joint set of conclusions. As those who attended the first General Assembly in Rome last October we found the method at first unfamiliar but then deeply fulfilling, formative and liberating.  It helped us make room for the Spirit!  

The day gave us the opportunity to share the experience of  often working alone or with limited support in parish and diocese. We swim against a current not so much of denial of climate change and the need to protect creation and respond to the cries of those most affected.  The task is still to link our faith (love of God)  to sustainability (love of God’s creation)  but then of ‘animating’ ourselves and the communities of parish and diocese to take action together. There is, after ten years, still a job to do to translate the teachings of Laudato Si into faith-based action on behalf of the poorest and of creation.

We came away grateful for the opportunity to have meet face to face – many of us for the first time and newly determined to witness to the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace and, perhaps above all – patience! Our thanks are due to all those at Hinsley Hall who made the meeting possible.