Has being in lockdown made you think about how to live more simply?

livesimply steering group

livesimply steering group

On this 5th anniversary year of Laudato si the Pope’s is calling for a “Jubilee” time for the Earth, for humanity, and for all God’s creatures. We have been dwelling on this for some time, but this devastating pandemic has shown us even more the connectivity of the earth and all humanity- it’s time to focus on “ecological conversion” in “action.”

We act as individuals and families, as worshipping communities (parishes and diocese) and as part of the whole world.    As with everything to encourage others to travel with us we need to start with “conversion,” pray and a plan. A manageable and practical way to get started is the  Live simply Award

The Award is a flexible CAFOD initiative inviting groups, with the support of their parish priest, to Live Simply, Live Sustainably, and Live in Solidarity with the Poor. It’s a chance to recognise and promote some of the great things you might be doing already and a chance to experiment and try something new. A positive evangelisation, new ideas give us a chance to outreach and include new people and for all of us to deepen our understanding of our faith by exploring it in a different way.

The initiative starts with a consultation and audit and then a plan to take on three challenges in each of the three areas of the Award. Once you have the plan, its shared with the whole parish so as many people as possible can be encouraged to participate. On completion there is a chance to invite two CAFOD assessors to come, giving affirmation, a chance to celebrate together your progress.

Maureen presenting livesimply award

Maureen presenting livesimply award

For the past few years my husband Stuart and I have been CAFOD live simply assessors, a great joy for us to visit parishes, meet people and find out about all the wonderful things being achieved. Each one is different, but all show a dedicated group committed to living out the gospel creatively.


  • The practical, wilding projects, bird house building family activity days, solar panels, monitoring of church emissions to look at greater efficiency, litter picks, clothes swops, highlighting Fairtrade products.
  • The spiritual celebrations, blessing of pets, outside celebrations in May, service s of reconciliation, days of reflection looking more deeply at the wonders of all the creator offers us and our response.
  • The outreaching the charitable fund raisers that brings the community together, the collaborative working with other churches, inter faith local green groups, the support for friendship groups within the parish and beyond, support for foodbanks and chances to share our activities and faith with others.


The season of creation might be a great time to explore together some of the many resources available working towards a conversion of heart.  We now have the Laudato si goals, the beginning of a seven-year journey. We need to play our part in this, maybe using the Live simply Award might be a practical place to start-

“Laudato si” Praise the lord

Maureen Thompson

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.