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. 


Reflection Day on Living Simply at St Anne’s Brockenhurst

Maureen Thompson

Maureen Thompson

Thank you so much to Maureen Thompson (our livesimply assessor and Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for CAFOD Portsmouth) for leading a day of reflection at St Anne’s Church in Brockenhurst .St Anne’s are working on the livesimply award, which is an opportunity for parishes to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.It is awarded to communities who can show how they have been living simply, in solidarity with people in poverty and sustainably with creation. So far five parishes in the Portsmouth diocese have achieved this award and it is great that St Anne’s have started their livesimply journey.

Maureen told me

“May I just express my thanks to St Anne’s Brockenhurst Care for Creation group for inviting me to share their lovely day of reflection.   As part of working towards the livesimply award Annabelle and the team planned a lovely day of information and reflection which focused on the Global Healing and Global caring films. https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session commissioned by the Bishops conference.  These films  help to promote  the call in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: Care for our Common home  to “ecological conversion”

Maureen and her car

Maureen and her car

In support of the theme of the day I arranged with the church to be able to come in my electric car and plug in while I was there.We opened the day with one world week reflection on the creation story setting the scene for first film  which introduces Laudato Si’ and reflects on the wonders of God’s creation – in the setting of the New forest with all the trees and ponies  we were at a big advantage.

Discussion groups

Discussion groups

After the second film clip we split into groups to discuss our individual and corporate responses more deeply.  Although we concentrated on the smaller changes that we could manage as a parish community we did open the discussion to the major global shifts needed to move away from fossil fuels, make room for everyone and challenge economic systems. We prayed for the world leaders as they meet for COP25 in Madrid this week.



After a delicious  lunch we returned for a short talk from me about my trip with CAFOD to Poland for last years climate talks, and reflections on CAFOD’s continuing campaigning in support  of some of the world’s poorest people effected by climate change.

This was followed by the Bishop Arnold film clip https://www.ourcommonhome.co.uk/main-session-gc where he gives his personal transition to living more simply and he gives practical ideas which help people to look at the commitments they might make in support of the Laudato si pledge. http://livelaudatosi.org/



Finally we had a short liturgy which included the film clip from St Bernadette’s school hope for the future, some quiet time and ended with Pope Francis prayer from Laudato Si’.

Many thanks to Annabelle and her group for organising the day and to all those who attended. We look forward to hearing more about your livesimply journey next year!