FCJ Sisters around the world have been involved in organizing showings of The Letter – the Laudato Sì film. Here is a report on a showing at our FCJ Christian Life Centre in Calgary, Canada. (Text and photo are taken from the FCJ Centre’s website.)
Over the past several months, the FCJ Sisters and FCJ Centre staff have been exploring ways to bring Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, to life in the FCJ Centre and our programming. As part of this effort, a Laudato Si Committee has been established to examine various ways of greening our building and researching possible programs to promote this cause.
As part of this initiative, the committee organized the screening of the documentary The Letter on April 25th, which is a visual response to the encyclical. The film was shown on the big screen in our Auditorium. The film left a profound impact, evoking strong emotions of compassion for victims impacted by the consequences of climate change, which are already so visible in the world. The timing was significant as it coincided with the week around Earth Day, where so much of our focus is on protecting our climate.
During the evening, we had two brief breaks that gave us time to grab coffee and chat briefly with “someone who you haven’t met before.” This was done deliberately as “building relationships” and “community engagement” are vital aspects of the Laudato Si goals.
The program ended with a panel of four speakers. First, we heard from Clara and Nevaeh, two high school students from Bishop O’Byrne High School. They explained to us the human-induced damage being done to the planet’s oceans. Then, we heard from our own Sr. Ita, who spoke to the spiritual dimension of eco-consciousness. Sr. Ita emphasized how each person, in small ways, can foster care for our common home. Finally, Reverend Tony Snow, an indigenous pastor of the United Church, spoke to the group.
Rev. Tony emphasized the crucial role that faith organizations play in supporting the efforts of young people who are striving to create a better future for the environment and indigenous peoples. He stressed that the work of climate action and reconciliation with the earth is intergenerational and has taken hundreds of years for us to reach this point in terms of industrialization and our way of thinking. Therefore, it is vital to listen to and understand the perspectives of indigenous peoples and those who are questioning the current system. Rev. Snow underscored the importance of passing on this work to future generations. For this reason, it was particularly inspiring to witness the dedication and passion of Clara and Nevaeh, our student presenters.
Rev. Tony further stressed that solutions to these challenges are within reach if we remain committed and rely on the guidance of our faith. The evening’s most critical aspect was the encouragement to take small steps towards effective action. The Laudato Si committee hopes that small but fruitful changes can be made in our lives to make Laudato Si’s goals a reality and protect our fragile planet.
This is part of an ongoing effort at the FCJ Centre, and the event we hosted is not a one-time occurrence. We encourage you to stay tuned to our website for upcoming programs, including a repeat screening of the movie in early October.