Since the 2015 release of Laudato Si’, Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong in Australia has heeded Pope Francis’ prophetic call for an ecological conversion and proactively responded in a strategic approach, promoting and supporting sustainable practices and ecological values across the Wollongong diocese school system.
Beth Riolo, who leads environment, advocacy, and outreach efforts in the Diocese of Wollongong, strives to incorporate real-world learning experiences and awareness into the school system’s educational efforts. Together, students, teachers, and administrators explore the dynamic culture of faith and learning as they care for our common home.
“Here in Wollongong across our system of schools we have many wonderful environmental “good green” news stories…” -Beth Riolo, Professional Officer (Environment-Advocacy-Outreach) for the Dioceses of Wollongong
Here, we highlight just two of the countless positive initiatives that are being carried out by students and staff at the Wollongong Diocese.
Environmental Stations of the Cross
Students and staff at St. Columbkille’s Catholic Primary School Corrimal have created a Stations of the Cross and beautified their school grounds, with images and ecological quotes to inspire prayer and reflection on caring for creation.
The ‘SCC Environmental Stations of the Cross’ provide a journey that can be taken to reflect on our responsibilities as stewards of our common home and celebrate the greatness of God’s Creation. The Stations include images that reflect the school’s personal and identifiable interpretation of connection with God’s creation, and feature phrases taken from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, adapted to connect with the school community’s commitment to care for our ‘common home’ where required.
Learning to stop food waste
Year 6 students at Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Kiama, participated in The OzHarvest FEAST– which is a curriculum-aligned program that teaches students to eat healthy, waste less and become change-makers in their community.
Ozharvest’s FEAST program “is all about educating children about food waste, composting, nutrition– including incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals – and cooking,” said the Year Six teacher, Emma Groves. “The students are also understanding agriculture, farming and sustainability so they’re learning the in-depth processes of where our food comes from.”
Another exciting project that is currently in progress at another school in the Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong is a cosmic mosaic walk at the school entrance that tells the universe creation story. We look forward to reading all about it when it is completed!
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