Potent Lenten Pastoral Letter from Bishop of Killala on ‘Our Common Home’
Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. People and their movements are called to cry out, to mobilize and demand – peacefully but firmly – that appropriate and urgently needed measures be taken”
(Pope Francis, Bolivia, July 2015)
The Bishop of Killala, Bishop John Fleming, has published a Lenten Pastoral Letter in which he
encourages the people of his diocese to avail of the season of Lent to reflect on their responsibility to the environment, climate change and the world’s poor.
“As we begin Lent 2017 I make this appeal to you,” Bishop Fleming writes: “think about the way in which you live, the waste which you create and the damage you are doing to the environment; think about the children who will bear your name in future generations and look back on you as one of the links in their genetic chain; remember the damage done by us to the poorest in our world through climate change, those who have no voice in the face of the supper powers of our time.”
Bishop Fleming encourages us to reflect on these words of Pope Francis:
“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds”.
He concludes: “My prayer for all of us during Lent this year is that each one of us may cause that shaft of light to break through the heavy clouds darkening our world.”
Bishop Flemings pastoral letter encourages us to remember that “Lent is a time for reviewing our relationships: with God, with one another and with the Earth, which Pope Francis constantly reminds us in ‘our common home.’
On fasting, he reminds us of the Prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament (Laudato Si 58. 6-8) clearly expresses God’s attitude: “… this is the … fasting I want… break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke: let the oppressed go free, share your bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless poor, clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin.”
“In this short piece of advice from God,” writes Bishop Fleming, “we touch the main themes of our lives today: homelessness, hunger and injustice. And what does God want of us this Lent? He wants us to show our concern for those who suffer from these. And if we do what he wants, what does God promise? “Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Your integrity will go before you and the glory of the Lord behind you.”
The pastoral letter also has practical examples to follow concerning Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Bishop Flemings Pastoral Letter may be accessed by clicking here: