by BISMumbai Correspondent

Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Coordinator of the Sector of 'Ecology and Creation' at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and the Chair of Philosophy of Science and Director of the Institute of Social and Political Sciences at the Salesian Pontifical University [UPS] in Rome, has been appointed to coordinate plans to materialize the visions of Laudato Si, as Pope Francis has announced 24 May 2020 to 24 May 2021 as a special year of the papal encyclical.

The special Laudato Si Anniversary Year has been declared to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the encyclical and is very significant, as it has been declared in the midst of the watershed COVID-19 global pandemic. The launch of programmes and a public commitment on the part of various institutions to begin the 07-year journey to total sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si, is all set to begin with Families, Dioceses, Schools Universities, Hospitals / Health Care Centres, Businesses/Agricultural Farms, etc., and Religious Orders. It has been proposed to measure 'integral ecology' in the spirit of Laudato Si with 07 Laudato Si Goals [LSGs]: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, Ecological Economics, Ecological Education, Ecological Spirituality, Adoption of Simple Lifestyles, and Community Involvement and Participatory Action. [Refer attached PDF]

On 16 May, the first day of the recently concluded Laudato Si’ Week called for by Pope Francis, the Don Bosco Green Alliance was invited and chosen to spearhead the Global Schools Campaign, that will "involve promoting a re-think and re-design of educational curricula and educational institution reform in the spirit of integral ecology to create ecological awareness and action, promoting the ecological vocation of young people, teachers and leaders of education."

Father Kureethadam says that science has warned of ''precarious state of the earth, our common home, [...] ''tragic experiences of so many vulnerable communities around the world [...with children on the streets who] tell us that we cannot steal their future''. He further elaborates, "humanity is interdependent and interconnected, and in need for ''solidarity in order to create a new world. All these crises can be an opportunity, a moment of grace to begin anew and build a world together, responding to the invitation of Pope Francis.''

Father Kureethadam was a Research Scholar at the University of Oxford where he is an Academic Visitor from 2011. His publications include "Creation in Crisis: Science, Ethics and Theology" (Orbis Books, 2014), "The Philosophical Roots of the Ecological Crisis" (Cambridge Scholars, 2017), "The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si." (Liturgical Press, 2018).

Incidentally, Father Joshtrom Kureethadam was also the Doctoral Dissertation Research Guide of MumbaiSalesians' Novice Master Father Wyman Gonsalves, who specialised in the Philosophy of Ecology–Philosophy of Science, at the Salesian Pontifical University Rome, with his thesis “Towards a New Paradigm in the Understanding of Biodiversity Loss and its Impact on Socio-Economic Progress in the Writings of Vandana Shiva," later published as a Monograph "Green Mind Over Grey Matter: Ecological Perspectives to Global Environmental Crises" [Delhi: Media House, 2018].

The Holy Father Pope Francis asks, “What kind of world do we want to leave those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” Perhaps, Salesians and MumbaiSalesians [who have already finished a decade of GreenSchools Campaign through Greenline Mumbai] can reframe the question to ponder and act, 'what kind of Salesian educators and youth mentors to care for our common home?' in line with the PC 2019 & GC 28 'What kind/type of Salesians for the young of today?'

LAUDATO SI' Special Anniversary Year Plans.pdf