Since our last edition of Act Justly we have all been through an historic summer and unprecedented fire season – and there’s still a month or so to go. Here at the Justice and Peace Office some of us have been fighting the fires, some of us have lost property to the fire and all of us have wondered not only how to respond in a material sense but also, how do we respond within our own spiritual lives. We hope some of the reflections in this edition will get people thinking and reflecting in their own communities and parishes. We are incredibly blessed to have the wonderful work of Laudato Si to guide our own journey through this beautiful burnt-out country of ours.
Of course it has also been Australia Day. Again, knowing the pain and anguish that the 26th of January means for many First Nations people – a day that marks dispossession and a sometimes violent colonisation of home and country – we wanted to include some thoughts from Indigenous Catholics for all of us to consider in the debate around Australia Day. If we are ever going to become the nation that we are called to be; inclusive, equal and alive to our interdependence on all of us, that surely starts with a recognition of harm done and the need for restitution.
We have included a wonderful story on the journey from Grief to Grace in the lives of those who have suffered violence and abuse at the hands of those who are meant to love and support them. These are confronting issues but as the Royal Commission has made clear, ignoring or denying their reality only guarantees more harm to all of us.
We also draw your attention to a discussion guide developed by the Office for Social Justice on Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace Message for 2020 on Peace as a Journey of Hope: Dialogue, Reconciliation and Ecological Conversion. We hope it may inspire and inform some of the work your social justice group does this year.
We give you an update on where the Sydney Alliance is in its Postcode 2020 campaign and this time ask for where you would like to be involved because the time for action is upon us. Finally we have also included an article which summarises an incredibly well received and poignant forum which we held late last year on Australia’s policies and treatments of people seeking asylum. If you would like to know how you can assist people seeking asylum to live with more dignity, please get in touch with us.
Sadly we have also had to say goodbye to our wonderful colleague, Felicity Wade. After an amazing contribution to JPO she was made an offer she couldn’t refuse! Playing a role in preserving forests around the globe, so we wish her the best and every success with that. And we already miss her!
We hope you enjoy this edition and find something to share with others.
—Blessings, JPO Team