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A letter from Archbishop George Stack, Monday 27th September 2021

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

Dear Pupils of the Catholic Comprehensive Schools in the Diocese of Menevia

You will know that the meeting of the world leaders in Glasgow, from 31st October-12th November, will be truly important for the future of our planet. COP26 is short for Conference of the Parties-Participants. It will recognise the urgency of action as a result of science revealing more about our world and giving us knowledge about the Environment. As a result there is now a real understanding of the damage that the human race is doing to the world by the way we live. Scientists are now able to predict changing weather conditions and environmental events, but many are concerned that things are getting worse more quickly than we thought.

Care for the environment and for creation is deeply rooted in our Christian Faith. We see this in the accounts of creation in the Old Testament Book of Genesis. Pope Francis regularly speaks and writes about the care of our common home, not least in his magnificent encyclical “Laudate Si”. We are the guardians of creation and responsible for its well-being. We have probably ignored or taken it for granted for too long. Whether by accident or design, especially since the time of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century, we have exploited all that our planet has to offer us in abundance. Now we understand what we must do to repair the damage we have caused. We all have our own part to play in making changes to our own lives that will have a positive impact. We know how we can use electricity and water sparingly, reduce food waste and re-cycling. Your parents know how to reduce the fumes and gasses from their cars. It is our Christian duty to care for creation.

Soon, in Glasgow, world leaders of powerful countries will try to make agreements and pledges. They must think and act in the best interest of every person on the planet. Our political leaders must try and help by making realistic and achievable decisions which will stop global warming and protect the planet for your children and grandchildren in years to come.

I am writing to you today to encourage change in our personal lifestyle. “Live simply so that others may simply live”, and to make every effort through the power of prayer for those gathering at the COP26 meeting. We owe a duty to your generation and the generations coming after you that prayer and action should go hand in hand to effect change.

We should try to pray daily and especially during the COP26 meeting 1-12 November, that world leaders may understand the urgency of making radical decisions which are needed now to give us a healthy environment.

Please share this message with your friends both within and outside school. Use the prayer and other materials your school will receive during assemblies, classrooms for discussion and action both on a personal level and as a school community. I have asked all the parishes in the diocese of Menevia to use the following prayer in preparation for the meeting which will take place from 1-12 November. I hope you will use it too.

Loving Father,

We acknowledge that, either through ignorance or greed,

the Earth, our common home, is damaged.

That damage is felt most by people who have done little to cause it.

Industrialisation has exploited natural resources, endangering wildlife, causing climate change, and resulting in disasters and global warming.

Father, forgive us, and guide us.

Send your Spirit to encourage and strengthen our world leaders as they meet at COP26.

Cause them to discern the way that we must now go,

Agreeing the changes and decisions necessary to begin to repair the damage done

and to prepare a healthy and secure world for future generations.

And we ask Mary, our Mother, to intercede for us, and with us, in our need. Amen

With every blessing

Archbishop of Cardiff

and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Menevia

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