Update from Maureen on Emsworth’s virtual pilgrimage and a reflection on Laudato Si’ week

Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson & Jo Lewry

Bishop Philip with Maureen Thompson

As Maureen shared last week, she, Alison and about 50 others are on virtual pilgrimage to Canterbury.  Last Week Alison asked all the pilgrims to consider signing the CAFOD petition to the prime minister –https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Latest-campaigns/Unite-against-coronavirus

This week Maureen has had a go at making a video to encourage everyone  to look deeper to understand what is needed to Care for our common home – Maureen comments “Making a video is harder than it looks I discovered I get words muddled and I can’t sit still.”

 As the weeks progressed,  Maureen walked in her local area imagining that she is making the pilgrimage walk to Canterbury crossing the downs over Hastings to Ickenham. She tried to link up what she have learnt about St Thomas of Canterbury and his life of power struggles 850 years ago  and connect it with Laudato Si’ week working  to deepening our understanding of caring for our common home today  – it seemed a bit unlikely!

But then Bishop Arnold’s video, from the global Caring films, came to mind about living more simply which he explains at the end of this film.

As chancellor to the King,St Thomas lived a life of great splendour with the super-rich- his clothes-his hospitality- his entire retinue. But as Archbishop and particularly when he lived in monasteries in exile, he was at first forced but then gradually came to terms with living a much simpler life

There is satisfaction for people of faith to have joy in living simply and of course this is not only true for Archbishops and bishops but for all parishes. So, take up the CAFOD challenge together by considering the livesimply award


Living simply in Laudato Si’ week at Our Lady & St Edmund’s Abingdon

livesimply steering group

livesimply steering group

This week we are celebrating the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: Care for our Common home. Laudato Si’ asks us to view the world, our common home, in a new way reminding us that “everything is connected”. An encounter with Jesus Christ calls us to an “ecological conversion”, a new relationship with all created things and to care for our common home.

One of the best-known quotes from the document is a call to listen to a twin-cry, ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’. The global emergencies of the climate crisis and the current pandemic affect the poor and vulnerable most. The cries of the earth and the poor will only cease when we recognise that we are part of creation, connected to the rest of the created world and embrace the challenge to work together for change.

Our Lady & St Edmund parish in Abingdon are one of the five parishes in Portsmouth Diocese who have achieved the livesimply award. This award encourages parishes to respond to Laudato Si’ by looking at ways that they as individuals and a parish can live simply, live sustainably and in solidarity with the poor.

The livesimply group at Our Lady & St Edmund are celebrating Laudato Si’ week by encouraging parishioners to take up the Pope’s invitation and participate in the global day of prayer on Sunday 24th May.

Angela, one of the members of the livesimply group shares her thoughts..

“How about – whilst praying that we look beyond our own preoccupations –  also reflecting that practically for us at home in our everyday lives, lockdown is a Laudato Si moment?! We are being made aware of the interconnectedness of all things and all people. 

We are perforce Living Simply –   More people are cooking from scratch and eking out food resources. More of us are taking to cycling. We are enjoying clean air. We are taking a break from fossil fuel use. Children and adults are being creative with whatever we have in our homes. We are not indulging in unsustainable fast fashion. We are not dashing across the world to find leisure but appreciating our own environment.  

Despite the suffering, fear, anxieties, these are moments to be grateful for.  Could we pray in gratitude for the opportunity to take pause, to appreciate the world more, to care more about each other, to be satisfied with enough. And pray for courage to influence our politicians, both local and national, to change what will be the normal in the future, on the lines of Laudato Si.”

Please consider signing our coronavirus petition. 


Maureen tells us about Emsworth’s Virtual Pilgrimage and signing the Coronavirus petition

Map of pilgrimage route

Map of pilgrimage route

Our world has changed so much now, much more has to be done from our armchairs. Sometimes it can be a bit lonely and our levels of anxiety are high so Maureen our campaigns volunteer from Emsworth  has come up with the idea of virtually making the trip the parish was considering to travel to Canterbury  to commemorate  850 years since the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. A spiritual journey supported by our daily exercise each day.  We  have been “walking”  for 12 days  sharing our prayer and actions with fellow travellers as we imagine a journey  along the Old Way along the south downs  to Canterbury . www.emsworthchristians.com



This week Alison  one of our school volunteers who has joined the pilgrimage is encouraging everyone to sign the latest CAFOD petition https://e-activist.com/page/59334/petition/1

Alison says “As you walk through the attractive villages and beautiful, lush countryside between Clayton and Plumpton, or wherever your virtual pilgrimage takes you, I ask you to allow your thoughts to travel many miles away to the people in the developing world who have nothing to protect them from the devastating impact of coronavirus. In these countries millions of people, already struggling to feed their families, now face extreme hunger as jobs are lost and markets shut down.

These vulnerable families are ill equipped to fight the virus.  The public health systems are totally inadequate.  Many countries have shortages of the most basic supplies such as masks, oxygen and even soap and water.  Some do not have a single ventilator.

The scale of the crisis is frightening as the pandemic spreads across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East as well as among refugee camps and displaced populations in countries such as Syria, South Sudan and Bangladesh.  We must reach out to them. If you feel able, please add your name to a petition set up by CAFOD asking the Government to play its part.” 

Please remember them in your prayers

Restoring and healing God, we pray for all those suffering across the world because of the Pandemic.  May these extraordinary times galvanise our world leaders to work together in an effort to make deep and lasting changes to the injustices that cause so much misery and premature deaths in the developing world and in areas of conflict.  Give us the strength and courage to speak up for those who have no voice and to do our part to make the world a better place.  Amen


Hand washing in Zimbabwe

Hand washing in Zimbabwe