Turning to Mother Mary
May 2022

Monthly intention

“Just as [Mary’s] pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power” (LS 241).

The United Nations recently released a report confirming that our sister mother Earth continues to suffer and that we, humans, are the primary cause of the climate emergency and ecological crisis. The war in Ukraine continues against this backdrop of dual crises, while many communities around the world are still hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced millions of families into extreme poverty. The cries of the Earth and the poor are becoming increasingly louder every day, and the message is clear: time is running out!

The month of May is dedicated to honoring Mary, our Mother. In the midst of the destruction and suffering, let us all turn to our loving Mother, for comfort and courage as we continue our work of caring for creation. Let us pray that through Mary, the perfect disciple, we will heed the call to safeguard God’s creation and support our poor brothers and sisters, who have all been redeemed by her son, Jesus Christ, and his death and resurrection. By her intercession, may we never lose hope and may all our efforts contribute to the restoration of our common home.

Virgin Mary, all nature is blessed by you

By Saint Anselm of Canterbury

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, Earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of humans – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace.

All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for people or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of people who served idols.

Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendor by people who believe in God. The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees God openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given by you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary, God gave his only-begotten Son. Through Mary, God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature, Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. God, who could create all things from nothing, would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world, and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

With Mary, we are called to be the Jerusalem of this time

“Just as [Mary’s] pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power” (LS 241).

“Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).

By Sr. Amelia Hendani, SGM (Sisters of The Earth Community)
Laudato Si’ Movement – Indonesia

Sr. Amelia Hendani, SGM

It has been seven years since the Laudato Si’ encyclical was released. Despite the positive response from all parts of the world to Pope Francis’ appeal for an ecological conversion, there are still many who have not been touched or awakened by the catastrophic reality of our planet. As a result, our actions and decisions continue to destroy our sister mother Earth at an “unprecedented rate.”

During this crucial moment in time, we witness the Passion of Christ wherever we look. It is being reenacted by species facing the risk of extinction, in land being stripped of fertile soil and deforested, and in oceans being overly exploited and extracted.

We feel it in the chaos that follows after communities suffer the brunt of the impacts of climate disasters that are increasing in frequency, intensity, and magnitude and are becoming increasingly unpredictable. We see the suffering of Christ in the faces of people in war-torn countries as they are helplessly condemned to death, in people dying of starvation and in those who are forced to modern day slavery to satisfy our insatiable wants and needs.  

The Gospel according to Luke says, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem (24: 46-47).

The Gospel asks us to be the “Jerusalem of our time,” a place where true repentance begins. In this new Jerusalem, we humbly acknowledge our failure and transgressions against God’s creation.  We preach to the world the importance of changing our ways of being with one another and with all forms of creation who share our home.

In this new Jerusalem, we bring St. Francis’ message to life by not treating creation as mere objects but by seeing the face of our Creator in them and by calling all members of God’s creation sisters and brothers.

Just as Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical letter has taught us to look at our current reality in a totally different light than how we used to, we now open our hearts to recognize the dignity and existence of all creation rather than see them for the benefit we stand to gain from them.  

The month of May is specially dedicated to Mary, our Mother, whose motherly care teaches us to trust. In her embrace, we let our hearts mourn for the creatures that cease to exist and for our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We ask her to accompany us in our journey and to remain faithful in our mission of caring for creation. Through her love, we are strengthened in the hope that we too, like Jesus, will rise from the dead.

But it is only when we break open our hearts, be compassionate to our suffering brothers and sisters and all creation, and take meaningful action by changing our ways and by ceasing to exploit our sister mother Earth, that we will be resurrected.

Deforestation in Asia

Hearing Creation’s Cry 

Landscape in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Moses Ceaser/CIFOR.

Asia is known for its rainforests and for having the richest biodiversity in the world. The region also has the highest rate of deforestation, which has been considered a modern-day plague in Southeast Asia. Human activities, which includes cutting down forests, have warmed the planet, contributing to the climate crisis.

All of creation’s beauty

Hearing Creation’s Song

Taman Negara National Park, Peninsula Malaysia, Malaysia. aka Colugo. Photo by David Cook.

The Sunda flying lemur is a small, furry tree-dwelling nocturnal mammal that lives in the most remote jungles of Southeast Asia. The Sunda flying lemur is only one of many unique animals found in Asia’s forests.

Embracing my mission of caring for creation

Ecological conversion story 

By Fr. Ramesh Lingala
Indian Missionary Society 

My journey of love and care for sister mother Earth began in 2012 in Tarumitra, an eco-bio reserve in Patna. Being an intern for a year, I spent time understanding humans’ deep roots in ecology. One year of experience drew me altogether into a different horizon of knowledge, perspectives, commitments, and charism for life to care for creation.

Fr. Ramesh Lingala

Under the able guidance and supervision of Rev. Fr. Robert Athickal, SJ, I got engaged in talking to different groups of students from various disciplines of studies, drawing their attention to the interdependency of life and its sustainability.

For the past five years, I have been teaching eco-theology to connect the students and novices with biblical eco-spirituality and the development of eco-spirituality in the Catholic tradition. In this journey, I made students understand the Church’s commitment to uphold and promote eco-spirituality through her teachings and encyclicals.

After my ordination into the Indian Missionary Society in 2016, my major superiors allowed me to work on my interests in life. For the past five years, in collaboration with Tarumitra and with the support of Rev. Fr. Robert Athickal, SJ, I have been working to build an eco-bio reserve in Ashta, Madhya Pradesh.

One of the major works we are doing is planting 110 varieties of trees on the campus, particularly those which are endemic and on the verge of extinction. I have invited and involved many neighboring religious communities to participate in tree-planting activities on the campus. I have been invited to several schools to conduct seminars and educate the students on the issues of the environment, inspiring them to live in harmony and to care for nature.  

As a priest, I have committed myself to the care of creation. At present, I am studying Ecology, Society and Sustainable Development at MIT World Peace University in Pune. My future plan is to promote sustainability for integral ecology and collective evolution of creation. Through the scientific findings and through the path of biblical eco-spirituality, I wish to be a sign of hope and inspire others to embrace the entire creation with love and care.

St. Philip Neri
Feast Day: May 26
Inspiring Saint

By Patrick Laorden
Laudato Si’ Movement Theological Consultant

St. Philip Neri was an Italian priest and a regarded mystic during the time of the Counter-Reformation. In his younger years, he was known as “Good Little Phil” for his cheerful demeanor. He was the founding member of a congregation of secular priests and clerics known as the Institute of the Oratory of St. Philip.

During his life, St. Philip engaged in tutoring and many charitable works. In Rome, he offered many religious conferences, becoming so popular that a room was built over a church nave to be able to accommodate his audiences. These rooms were later known as oratories. The Oratorians, a community he founded, would continue the tradition of gathering in oratories. There are more than 500 priests who serve in 70 oratories worldwide.

Patrick Laorden

St. Philip was respected and loved throughout Rome. He was known as the “Apostle to Rome” because of his constant presence and tireless evangelization to the people. He became a trusted advisor to the poor, cardinals, kings, and the Pope.

One of St. Philip’s maxims was: “There is a generosity in creation, and it shows the goodness of the Creator: the sun scatters its light; the fire spreads its heat; the tree throws out its arms, which are its branches, and reaches to us the fruit it bears; water, and air, and all nature express the generosity of the Creator.”

Pope Francis echoes this in Laudato Si’ when he talks about how small efforts to change the world are the vehicles that communicate God’s goodness: “We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” (LS 212).

We are called to encounter God’s goodness in creation. Going into the streets as St. Philip did in Rome, we can bring the Gospel of Creation to the people we meet. Our involvement, no matter how small, has the capacity to communicate the goodness of God’s creation.

Join us in celebrating Laudato Si’ Week

The Church invites Catholic communities around the world to participate in Laudato Si’ Week 2022.

The weeklong global event, to be held May 22-29, will mark the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on creation care and unite the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics to listen and respond to the cry of God’s creation.

This year, with the theme of “Listening and Journeying Together”, Catholics on six continents will work on “bringing the human family together to protect our common home” (LS 13), which is the guiding Laudato Si’ quote for the weeklong celebration.

Catholics will rejoice in the progress we have made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life, and intensify our efforts through the Vatican’s new Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which is empowering Catholic institutions, communities, and families to fully implement Laudato Si’. 

Can we count on you to lead your community in urgent prayer and action for our common home? Join us at LaudatoSiWeek.org.