In collaboration with the youth and communities in Casa Velha in Portugal, in West Kalimantan in Indonesia, in Bendum, Mindanao in the Philippines, and with the Christian Life Community, and hopefully more in the coming period, Ecojesuit launched On the Way to Change, a global community pilgrimage to COP26.
Rooted in an ongoing common journey that connects three local communities in the care of the Common Home, the Ecojesuit COP26 pilgrimage aims to highlight spirituality, community, and change, in a journey that connects different initiatives of faith groups, communities, and networks. On the Way to Change begins this Season of Creation, culminating in a meet-up with other pilgrims in Glasgow, Scotland, UK where the climate change talks will happen from 1 to 12 November 2021.
The Ecojesuit COP26 pilgrimage starts on 1 September, as the Season of Creation begins, and involves physical journeys designed by communities on the ground and online encounters facilitated through monthly group reflections.
The climate pilgrims are invited to share stories and experiences, create art, produce videos, initiate campaigns, write, and organize platforms for exchange around key questions on COP26 and climate reconciliation:
- What are the changes they want to see the most?
- What stories can they tell others to encourage these desired changes?
- How can communities and houses come together in meaningful participation?
- How can they better respond to the cries of the poor and the earth?
The pilgrimage weaves the different stories that the youth and communities meet along the way and some have initiated their local journeys.
In Indonesia, the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are collaborating with the local church and communities in spirituality for action through formative programs with young people and farmers that promote care for the land, such the bamboo project in Sukaria, West Kalimantan.
In the Philippines, the indigenous Pulangiyēn youth began by reflecting on the story of Saint Ignatius and the stories of change from Balay Laudato Si’ in Bendum, Bukidnon in northern Mindanao, connecting their context with that of Standing Rock in North Dakota in the US where the Lakota Sioux youth leader Tokata Iron Eyes is leading efforts to protect her people’s ancestral domain.
In Ourem, Portugal, the youth are living in community in Casa Velha. These then intersect with global movements such as the CLC Youth Manifesto that collectively amplify the voices and bring the message of hope and urgency to the climate negotiations and beyond.
The pilgrimage also features an art-sharing campaign from 1 to 30 September, #Creating4Change, that encourages participants to reflect and share artworks based on daily word prompts on the theme, #OpenLetterstoCOP26. Sketches, sculptures, paintings, poetry, music, photographs, and all forms of art are welcome.
All engagements are located on an interactive map.
The idea is not to travel alone in life, and to value the journey and not just the goal. This is a pilgrimage of hope where a positive awakening is sought through listening and travelling together in ways that link local places as a community of communities.
Like Advent, there is an anticipation of a world beyond COP26, a world defined by the human spirit through the relationships between people, nature, and God.
Local communities, schools, youth groups, and other interested groups are welcome to join On the Way to Change and can register their participation here.