Four young Australians are joining a Living Laudato Si’ Spirituality for Action workshop in the Philippines with high hopes and with expectations to deepen their knowledge of ecology across Asia-Pacific, reflect on Laudato Si’, hear Jesuit wisdom and experience, and explore how, as individuals and groups, they can live Laudato Si’.
The Reconciliation with Creation program of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific (JCAP) is organizing the workshop with the theme Discernment, Depth, Action and Mission to be held in Bukidnon, Philippines from 5 to 9 August 2019. The workshop’s venue is Balay Laudato Si’, a cultural and ecology center that serves as a venue for activities that engage with the culture, youth, and natural resources.
The four participants are:
Alma Gatica, 34 years old, from Sydney, and is currently a fundraising and development coordinator at Jesuit Refugee Service. Alma’s upbringing in Guatemala and employment experiences have shown her that environmental degradation and resource scarcity exacerbate conflicts in the poorest nations and are a catalyst for forced displacement. Alma shared that “this is a wonderful opportunity to learn and reflect on Laudato Si’, and to participate in the dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”
Timothy Weber, 22 years old, from Melbourne, and is a member of the Hawthorn Parish where he has volunteered as a catechist in youth ministry and soup van programs. He is currently studying to be a high school teacher at Australian Catholic University. Tim said he hopes the workshop experience will enable him to “develop a greater understanding of Asia-Pacific and of the challenges that face our region.” He expects to apply his learnings both in his teaching career and throughout the rest of his life.
Teriza Mir, 19 years old, from Sydney, and is a volunteer at The Cardoner Project. Through Cardoner, she contributed to a six-month project in Sri Lanka. She said: “I believe the workshop will provide me with greater insights and tools as to how I can combine my desire to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, and to help ensure the future of our planet, with my faith, and hopefully how I can instigate change in my community in that way.”
Josh Lourensz, 30 years old, from Melbourne, is employed at Jesuit Social Services where his main role is coordinating the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA). He is also a mmber of the Society of St Vincent de Paul and is currently a part of a working group investigating a national, ecologically just social procurement framework.Josh is aware of the difficulties individuals face in trying to live in a just and environmentally sustainable manner both in developing and developed countries. He said: “I want to be a part of structured, careful, radical change – so that we, together, can make a society where it is easier to be good.”
In preparation for the workshop, the participants will meet each other in a video conference where they will discuss the pre-workshop reading and their expectations for the workshop. They will also have a video conference in the weeks after their return to discuss learnings, wisdom and practical action in the Jesuit ministry with which they are associated.
This will be an opportunity for them to review what they wrote on their application form about the ways they anticipated they would give back to their Jesuit ministry.
The four were chosen from 10 applicants. Lawrie Hallinan, Chair of the Australian Province Reconciliation with Creation Advisory Group said: “Our selection panel was thrilled to have so many enthusiastic and high-quality applicants – although it made the final decision very difficult.”
Young adults were invited to apply to participate in the JCAP Living Laudato Si’workshop as a way of addressing both the Universal Apostolic Preferences and the priorities in the Australian Jesuit Province Apostolic Plan 2019-24. It is hoped this will become an annual project.