Coming Together to Care for Our Common Home
We are currently in the Season of Creation – 1st September 2021 to the 4th October 2021 marks this year’s global Christian response to prayer and action for our common home. Here at Highways and Byways we have been nurtured and sustained by a long history of care and love for the earth. Fr John Wallis who founded the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Service (MSS) had a lifelong deep commitment to the environment.
And for more than 77 years the MSS Sisters have given expression to a deep love for our fragile land and a commitment to action as they worked across rural Australia supporting people and communities in their everyday lives. This commitment to action has been taken up by Highways and Byways, in particular in the last few years.
We have recently partnered for a second year with North East Bioregional Network in north east Tasmania to restore degraded pine plantation forest.
We have had two years of Annual Small Grants where rural communities are undertaking diverse programs to care for and heal the land – they are doing amazing work with huge community effort and relatively little funding.
In 2021 our theme is Healing The Land – Healing Ourselves – Together. 43 Grants across Australia have been funded – Here are just a few wonderful examples of some of these healing our land:
As we celebrate this Season of Creation we are inspired also by the Social Justice Statement 2021-2022 from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference – Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor. In the Statement, the Bishops invite the whole Catholic community to join them in taking up Pope Francis’ invitation to a seven-year journey towards total ecological sustainability, guided by seven Laudato Si’ Goals.
These Goals are: response to the cry of the earth; response to the cry of the poor; ecological economics; sustainable lifestyles; ecological spirituality; ecological education; and community engagement and participatory action.
We will continue to do all we can to support these goals now and in the years ahead.