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Cosmology & Eco Justice

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Report from Newfoundland

March 10, 2016

The logo of our Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice (MCEJ) depicting an image of planet Earth without boundaries or borders and with the Mercy Cross at the centre, a reminder of the divine energy of mercy and compassion, portrays the oneness and the sacredness of all creation.

When this harmonious and unified sense of interconnection and interrelatedness touches into our deepest feelings and attitudes it has the power to bring about the change we need as a people to take our proper place in creation for the restoration of right relations with Earth and its inhabitants. To be part of this great work in our time is the mission and mandate of MCEJ.

The following are some of the ways we have being working during the past six months to promote the directions of our mission and mandate.

Cosmic Walk: Raising awareness of the sacredness of creation through the lens of the New Universe Story is an important work of MCEJ. As one more tool to further enhance this endeavour we have been working on establishing a Cosmic Walk on the grounds of MCEJ and preparing a reflection and prayer for each evolutionary stage to be used by groups and by individuals. In addition we are also preparing a portable Cosmic Walk kit that can be used in parks and other public places.

Climate Change: At our Centre we feel greatly encouraged in the work that we do for the care of the planet emerging in Canada since the election of our new Federal and Provincial Governments and as well as indications of a new interest in ecology and justice on the part of some of our church leaders through Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. During Advent we were happy when some Christian and other faith leaders agreed to meet at the Centre to discuss how we could work together to address the issues brought forth in the encyclical and in other faith documents on the care of our planet. These meetings resulted in a Multi Faith Walk focused on the Paris Climate Change Talks. This Prayer Walk took the form of a reflection on the four elements of Earth. The walk began with the first reflection taking place on the steps of our Basilica, then, on to the steps of the United Church for the second reflection then to the Anglican Cathedral steps, concluding at the waterfront where we sent the energy of our prayer out over the waters of the Atlantic ocean to Paris. This prayer ritual was lead by the Roman Catholic Archbishop and the Anglican Bishop, the United church Lead and a representative of the Baha’i faith. One of the most encouraging parts about this event is that the bishops have asked that we continue with similar ways of coming together for the care of our planet.

The Leap Manifesto: Preparations for Leap Year 2016 activities continue and include planning for a Prayer Service and Silent Vigils in front of our government building with the intention of holding government accountable to their election promises and the hope expressed in the Paris talks.

Fracking: Our work with the Newfoundland and Labrador Fracking Awareness Network and the Port au Port Bay St George Awareness Group continues. As a Board of the MCEJ we also prepared a submission for the Newfoundland Hydraulic Fracking Panel website and later met with the Panel to discuss our submission. We are expecting a response from the provincial Review Panel by the end of March.

Fair Trade: As a result of our efforts in promoting Fair Trade as an alternative to Free Trade by sponsoring the Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Sale. From the ever increasing number of patrons who attend the sale and the number of ready volunteers, especially young people, we are noticing how people are becoming more conscious of Fair Trade as a way to support Earth and its most vulnerable people.

In addition to the above, we run various programs at the Centre through the use of videos, book studies, and reflection groups on issues related to ecology and justice. We also accept invitations to speak to special groups and organizations and as well as sponsor public lectures with recognized national and local speakers.

Mary Tee rsm