On the altar of the world

By Steve Atherton, Justice & Peace fieldworker

If you are wondering what to do this Lent, then here's a suggestion for you to consider. Once again, the Liverpool Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission and CAFOD have written a resource that brings together the Gospels of each Sunday in Lent, stories to illustrate how the themes of scripture relate to modern society, quotations from Laudato Si', and proposals for action.

We think that this third Lenten resource is the best yet and as with the previous booklets, it is designed to enable participants to study and discuss Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato Si' (On Care for our Common Home) in the hope that we will make changes to our lives in the face of the global emergency of climate change.

There is material for every week of Lent, starting with the week after the first Sunday and finishing with the Sunday before Holy Week. The booklet is arranged in weekly sections with each section containing the Gospel for that Sunday, a story either from the UK or overseas, excerpts from Laudato Si' and points for discussion and action. In this latest resource, we focus even more on action – on how we can put our increased understanding into practice.

Over the last year we have seen many examples of the devastation caused by climate change – wildfires, hurricanes, flood, droughts, famines and the resulting increase of migration. The impact is greatest in the poorest countries but even the wealthy nations of the world are no longer safe, as shown, for example, by the wildfires in Spain and California in 2017. We are also increasingly aware of the damage done by plastics to the abundant life of the oceans. There is so much to do.

Our title comes from #236 in Laudato Si' where Pope Francis quotes his predecessor St John Paul II: "Even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world."

It is a tool to help us reflect on how we behave in the presence of this altar. We hope that groups will find it helpful for discussion, prayer and action. Please let me know if you have used this resource and send me your comments. Everybody who gets in touch will be invited to an event after Easter to reflect on the booklet and support one another on our future journey together.

• These materials can be downloaded free from the Liverpool Archdiocesan Justice and Peace commission: https://goo.gl/4tPaMB.
Laudato Si' can be found at the Vatican website: w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papafrancesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html.
• Parishes might also like to consider the CAFOD Live Simply Award: cafod.org.uk/Campaign/How-to-campaign/Livesimply-award.

To contact the J&P office, call 0151 522 1080 or email s.atherton@rcaol.co.uk