Grassroots Minister: Mercy and the Degradation of Earth
Gabrielle Scanlon (Parramatta)
Let's take care of creation, a gift of our good Creator God. —Pope Francis

Working with students is an absolute privilege. They are so open to new ideas and are aware of their surroundings. They are also not afraid to challenge the norms. I always like to encourage students to be champions for change through exposing them to faith, education, and opportunities for a new way of thinking. Many schools now have environmental groups where students can get together and share their ideas, passions and thoughts on all thing linked to the environment. At Our Lady of Mercy College (OLMC) Parramatta where I work, we have Stewardship Leaders who run regular meetings with our environment group. These girls have a shared passion for the environment and work towards advocacy, awareness raising and fund raising to ensure that they are stewards for the Earth now and always. The ”cry of the earth, cry of the Poor” was the focus for a school wide campaign which came about as the Laudato Si' encyclical was explored at school.

Young people are so aware of the environment and the importance of maintaining it, respecting it, and allowing the flora and fauna time to regenerate. With the recent bushfires in Australia which have been wide spread and devastating, now more than ever we can really see that “God created the heavens and the earth… and it was good”, and so we need to work for preservation now. Our Earth provides us with the essentials for life and as a Catholic Community, we are aware that there are areas where we are not showing her the respect she deserves.

Degradation of the earth can be seen through the abuse of fossil fuels, pollution of the waterways and extinction of species. As a Mercy community, we like to integrate environmental issues into our College celebrations. We do this by making the theme of whole school days relevant to the Scripture we will hear and engage in, as well as through the activities we have available for the girls to participate in...

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Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator

I am the Director of Mission at OLMC Parramatta and teach Science and Religion. I believe in the dignity of every person and for this reason have always led social justice groups within the schools with which I have been associated. We are very fortunate to have Stewardship Leaders at OLMC and they lead an active group within the College called EcoOLMC. This environmental group raise awareness, run campaigns and work on advocacy to help raise the profile of Mother Earth and the desperate need we find ourselves in. Teaching is my passion and an absolute privilege and I just love everything I do at OLMC.

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