The Laudato Si’ Leadership Initiative



The Justice and Peace Office announce the inaugural Laudato Si’ Leadership Initiative .

The purpose of the Laudato Si’ Leadership Initiative (Initiative) is to:

  • encourage new ecology-based projects in Archdiocesan parishes;
  • cultivate leadership skills amongst Catholics in Sydney; and
  • promote the teaching of Laudato Si’.

The Initiative is inspired by and takes its name from the recent Encyclical Letter by Pope Francis, Laudato Si’. In that Letter, Pope Francis writes about our responsibility to care for our environment, God’s creation. As Pope Francis states:

…local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instil a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren.

Created by the Justice and Peace Office, the Initiative seeks to achieve the above goals by identifying and supporting parishioners who have the capacity to lead change within their communities.  The Justice and Peace Office will select up to four parishes to participate in the Initiative and will pay for one parishioner from each of those parishes to attend the Laudato Si’ Animator Program.  Upon completion of this program, the selected parishioner(s) will return to their parish, utilising their new-found learning by leading and working with others to complete an ecology-based project, which has been chosen by their parish.

Expressions of Interest are now being sought from parishes belonging to the Archdiocese of Sydney.

We hope you, too, are inspired by the teaching of Laudato Si’ and take the opportunity to submit an Expression of Interest. We wish you all the very best in your endeavours!


The Laudato Si’ Animator Program

In 2016, as part of the Initiative, the Justice and Peace Office is providing the opportunity for selected parishes within the Archdiocese of Sydney, to have one parishioner attend and participate in the Laudato Si’ Animator Program (Program) conducted by Catholic Earthcare Australia.

The Program is a live-in program for four days at Gerringong, NSW, from 23 – 26 February 2016. The cost of the Program is $990.00 per person. The Justice and Peace Office will cover the cost for up to four people, each from a different Archdiocesan parish, to participate in the Program, and will make available to those parishioners, a further $100.00 for travel and other incidentals associated with attending the Program.

The Program, and any activities which form a part of it, will be conducted by Catholic Earthcare Australia, which is the Environmental Agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (not an agency or branch of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney). As such, any details in relation to what may constitute the Program can be found on the Catholic Earthcare Website.


The Role of the Parish:

The Program is an important component of the Initiative, and is intended to be undertaken by an individual member of the parish, with the full support of the Parish Priest and fellow parishioners, as upon the return of the individual from the Program, the parish will undertake an ecology-based project, to be lead by that individual.

As each ecology-based project will be managed at the parish level, no project should be undertaken unless full participation and cooperation is given at the parish level. It is expected that the parish will commence work upon the agreed project within three months, at the latest, of the selected parishioner’s completion of the Program (unless otherwise agreed with the Justice and Peace Office).

Expressions of interest for participation in the Initiative, and for having one parishioner attend the Program, are currently being sought from Archdiocesan parishes and will be considered on the understanding that participation in the Initiative is parish-based and that the success of the ecology-based project will be dependant on the support of the parish as a whole.

Those parishes that are interested in embracing the Initiative, and having one of their parishioners participate in the Program, should discuss the Initiative with the Parish Priest, and within their parish, so as to identify an ecology-based project that is suitable to the parish, its local landscape and local community. The Parish Priest should then nominate a preferred parishioner to attend the Program and lead the ecology-based project. The Parish Priest and parish should ensure that the parish will be committed to supporting the individual and undertaking the parish-based project.

There are a wide variety of ecology-based projects that may be suitable for each parish, including projects which:

  • Create a more sustainable parish;
  • Create a garden within the parish grounds;
  • Raise awareness about Laudato Si’, integral ecology and Catholic social teachings in this area; or
  • Build relationships with others who are working within the community, welcome them into to the parish and work with them to improve the local environment. 

To assist each parish in identifying a suitable project, they may like to refer to ‘Living Laudato Si’‘, a web resource of the Justice and Peace Office.


The Individual:

The selected parishioners who attend the Program will develop their leadership skills through:

  • attendance at the Program in Gerringong form 23 – 26 February 2016; and
  • being responsible for both leading and collaborating with their fellow parishioners in implementing the ecology-based project.

Those individuals will also be expected to:

  • participate and encourage participation in the Initiative;
  • continue to liaise with other Program participants through Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Animator Network on an ongoing basis; and
  • identify other interested and committed parishioners, in order to create and mentor a team in relation to the Initiative at the parish level.

Individuals who are interested in attending the Program on behalf of their parish, should discuss their interest with the Parish Priest and fellow parishioners. They should be Catholics who:

  • Practice their faith at the local parish that would like to participate in the Initiative;
  • Have obtained the support of their Parish Priest to participate in the Initiative;
  • Express their interest in social justice, ecology and development;
  • Are willing and able to attend the Program in Gerringong on the relevant dates;
  • Will consult and liaise with their Parish Priest, Justice and Peace Office staff, fellow-parishioners and the wider community, regarding the planned project;
  • Will collaborate with others to plan and undertake the nominated project within a reasonable time frame; and
  • Are prepared to share the experience of having undertaken the Program and lead the project, with the Justice and Peace Office, the Archdiocese of Sydney, and the wider public.

Please note: there is no restriction as to age, gender, ethnicity, experience, education or on the basis of disability. Please also note that the successful participants will be selected at the sole discretion of the Justice and Peace Office.


Expressions of Interest and the Selection Process:

Once a Parish Priest and his parish have established the parish’s interest in participating in the Initiative, and identified an individual to attend the Program on behalf of the parish, the Parish Priest (or his delegate) should submit an Expression of Interest, including the following:

  1. A short description of the proposed ecology-based project which has been agreed upon by members of the parish;
  2. The name, contact details and a short biography of the person being nominated by the parish to participate in the Program and lead the ecology-based project;
  3. A short statement as to the level of consultation within the parish, and (depending upon the project), any relevant consultation with bodies outside of the parish, who will be required to assist with the project;
  4. A short statement as to the level of support within the parish for the ecology based project, and the parish’s involvement in the Initiative; and
  5. Any other information which may be relevant.


Please note that:

  1. The person being nominated by the parish must have previously agreed to their nomination, and that any personal information which is to be submitted about that person, should be submitted with their express permission, and their understanding that such information will be handled in accordance with the Privacy Collection Notice attached;
  2. Parish Priests who are interested in attending the Program and who will be able to meet the requirements above, may nominate themselves for participation in the Program; and
  3. The selection of parishes for participation in the Initiative (and the successful participants in the Program from those parishes), will be at the sole discretion of the Justice and Peace Office, which will consider Expressions of Interest in light of the support for the Initiative and the Program by the Parish Priest and parish community, as well as any additional information made available to the Justice and Peace Office in relation to the ecology-based project, and the nominated parishioner.


As numbers for the Program are limited, brief Expressions of Interest should be sent via email to no later than close of business on Thursday, 11 February 2016.


Personal Information:

As part of the nominations and expressions of interest submitted, and in order to implement the Initiative and assist in arranging participation in the Program, the Justice and Peace Office will obtain the personal details of parishioners. The collection and use of such personal information will occur in accordance with the following Collection Notice, and the Privacy Policy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, which can be accessed at:

We note that a brief biography of the successful participants and their participation in the Initiative may be published by the Justice and Peace Office in order to promote the Initiative and encourage support of parish-based projects generally.