Following Pope Francis’ invitation to join Laudato Si’ Week celebration, Catholics over the world including Ghanaians are reflecting and celebrating the Week with activities which started on Saturday, May 16 and will end this Sunday, May 24, 2020.
Laudato Si’ Week honours the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home. The theme of the week is “everything is connected.”
The week-long journey is characterized with transformation, praying, reflecting, and preparing together for a better world to come tomorrow.
One of the major questions of Pope Francis in Laudato Si is “what world do we want to leave for the next generation”.
Pope Francis has urged humanity during this Laudato Si Week not just to prepare for the future but instead prepare that future we want by our actions and lifestyles today.
Special activities have been put in place by Caritas Ghana Office for the week-long campaign which invites Catholic communities across the world to take bolder actions for creation.
In Ghana, deepening awareness and response to Laudato Si through personal conversion and behaviour change is being championed while ongoing caritas projects that already address climate change and environmental concerns are being consolidated.
The flagship ones are the ‘Care for Our Common Home E-Waste Management Project,’ Anti-Land Grabbing advocacy and the Sanitation and Pollution campaigns.
During this week, Caritas Ghana held a virtual reflection and review session with all the 20 Diocesan Caritas Directors on Microsoft Teams on the Laudato Si Week.
The Episcopal President of Caritas Ghana, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, joined the virtual meeting from his Konongo-Mampong Diocese and exhorted all the Diocesan Caritas Directors to engage in concrete and meaningful activities that will secure our Common Home.
The meeting agreed to collate activities that would have been carried out in all Dioceses at the end of the Laudato Si Week.
According to Samuel Zan Akologo, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, Laudato Si has become the moral compass and critical path for development programming and pro-poor public policy advocacy in Ghana.
He told newswatchgh.com that “This was very clear in our thinking and quite central to our designs for 2020, as National and Diocesan Caritas Directors when we met at Techiman Diocese in November, 2019.”
Caritas Ghana’s national Strategic Plan – the Medium Term Programme Critical Pathways for the period 2017 – 2021, is very much influenced by development themes underlined in Laudato Si.
It is the same for the Advocacy Plan – Catholic Community Agenda for Change (C2AGENDA4CHANGE) for the same period. In this way, Zan Akologo said, Laudato Si becomes an ongoing and longterm agenda to be pursued by Caritas Ghana instead of an event to be marked during this week.
“Consequently, tree planting, sustainable energy use, sanitation, pollution and electronic waste management will remain flagship interventions of Caritas Ghana, as direct response to the environmental question.
Multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue for peace will be a key priority also,” he stated.
He noted that Caritas Ghana is also hoping to influence the natura of business and economics from the perspective of Laudato Si where environmental, social and economic purposes will be furthered together.
This is our idea of Social Impact Investing that will create decent jobs for unemployed youth while integrating environmental concerns, he added.
“In this way, we hope to create new businesses and investments not only for shareholders but stakeholders where social and environmental good are made paramount”, according to Zan Akologo.
He noted that as part of the activities, Caritas Ghana is also promoting collaborative dialogue with diverse stakeholders around Laudato Si generally but also on some specific themes that easily build easy consensus.
He added that “We have begun this in earnest with the Interfaith Alliance of Muslim and Christian Faith Groups called the Forum for Actions on Inclusion, Transparency and Harmony (FAITH) in Ghana.”
For instance, the FAITH in Ghana Alliance is already responding collaboratively to the cries of the poor and vulnerable who are most affected by COVID-19 and the attendant emergency measures put in place to contain its further spread, he said.
“When Laudato Si recommended dialogue among all people of goodwill to solve the complex problems that confront the world today, it certainly has endorsed the path of Interfaith cooperation being facilitated by Caritas Ghana,” he concluded.