Laudato Si’ Week 2020

Invitation to take part in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Week – 16-24 May 2020

Laudato Si’ Week 2020

Five years on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, remains a profound invitation to everyone on the planet to care for our common home. To mark the fifth anniversary of its publication, Pope Francis has invited us all to participate in Laudato Si’ week from 16-24 May 2020 and take action to care for creation.

Laudato Si’ Week is sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and is intended to encourage Catholic communities to take bolder actions for creation during the week-long initiative. Here in the Diocese of Plymouth, Bishop Mark, CAFOD and Caritas Plymouth invite you all to take part in this important week in the diocese.

In his original message inviting us to celebrate the anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asks ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to our children’. He invites us to reflect on the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor during the social and ecological crises we are living through.  The current Coronavirus crisis a huge reminder of how our world is broken but as Pope Francis has said it gives us the opportunity to reimagine how we might reshape the world that will arise after the pandemic has passed.

Laudato Si’ tells us that “everything is connected” and tragically, this health catastrophe has much in common with today’s ecological and social crisis.

  1. Both are global emergencies that will affect many people, both directly and indirectly.
  2. Both are experienced most deeply by the poor and vulnerable, and both expose the deep injustices in our societies.
  3. Both will be solved only through a united effort that calls on the best of the values we share.

The present Coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to start anew and to make sure that the world that arises after this crisis has passed is sustainable and just.

CAFOD Plymouth and Caritas Plymouth have put together some resources for Laudato Si’ Week, that gives people to opportunity to find out more and take part in the week. We want to celebrate the good work already happening in our Diocese and will share some great contributions from our schools and parishes during the anniversary week. We are delighted that Bishop Mark has kindly recorded a video for the week that will be premiered on Saturday 16 May on the Diocesan YouTube channel Click here to set a reminder or to watch it.

Please check our social media accounts for updates throughout the week @CAFODplymouth on Twitter, and our blog:, as well as the diocesan accounts: @PlymouthDiocese and

Highlights for the week include:

Saturday 16 May, 10am Premiere: Bishop Mark O’Toole’s Talk on YouTube – ‘Our Common Home and Care for the Vulnerable’

On this video Bishop Mark leads the diocese to reflect on the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ inspirational letter ‘Laudato Si’. (also available to watch later via the same link).

Tuesday, 19 May 11am-12pm  Laudato Si’ Week – CAFOD Volunteer Prayer and Chat

All are welcome to join CAFOD Volunteers to reflect on passages on Laudato Si’led by our diocesan CAFOD Coordinator Simon Giarchi and Francis Stewart from CAFOD’s Theology Team.

Wednesday, 20 May 6-7pm

Laudato Si’ Week – Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday with CAFOD’s Chair of Trustees: Bishop John Arnold

Join together in solidarity and prayer to celebrate a special Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday during Laudato Si’ week, streamed live from Salford Cathedral.

Saturday 23 May

YouTube premiere Canon John Deeny VG will close the week with a video talk to the diocese. Link to come.

Also the official Laudato Si’ Week website site has an inspirational video from Pope Francis and an international programme for the week that all can get involved with, as well as a guide for people to use in order to reflect on Laudato Si’ to encourage people to ‘see, judge, act’ and looks at some of the key elements of Laudato Si’ and to reflect on the encyclical in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We invite everone to engage in this international week, as well as engaging with our in our diocesan and national inputs above we encourage those that wish to use and share the Laudato Si’ Week prayer and to take time to use the international resources to reflect on Care for Our Common Home in its widest sense – including the challenges now being faced by our brothers and sisters, both here and in developing countries as a result of the social and ecological crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic we are living through.  

“Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Social love is the key to authentic development. In this framework, along with the importance of little everyday gestures, social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and to encourage a ‘culture of care’ which permeates all of society.” (Laudato Si’, 231).

Get Connected – Invitation to inspirational talk and CAFOD Mass

Thanks to streaming technology, many parishes are now able to live-stream Sunday mass – and the theology team here at CAFOD have been working hard to create time to connect the wider CAFOD family.

CAFOD’s Head Of International Development

Meet the director – Maria Gonzales, Head of International Development, Tuesday, 28 April 11am-12pm. Join us online to meet Maria and hear about the greatest challenges facing our world right now, how we are responding and what gives her hope for the future. Ask your own questions and find out more about how CAFOD works on international development.

Fr Liam

And, next Wednesday 29 April, Fr Liam will be saying mass for all CAFOD volunteers and supporters at 6pm.

You can sign up to both talks here:

We hope you have a wonderful week, and if you’d like to get in touch, please feel free to ring or email us on: Email: or Mobile: 07920 751 180

Inspirational emergency fundraisers raise £5250 for two emergencies in a month!


We have many amazing stories to share here, but this one is particularly inspiring:

In August when Kerala was devastated by the huge floods the Keralan community in the Diocese of Plymouth all had family affected by the emergency. As they were preparing their own response they were approached by the Filipino community in the diocese to see if they could help because of their gratitude for the support shown to them during Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Boat - Kerala Floods

Caritas volunteers rescue families from the waters

Merlyn McGuire, leader of the Filipino community in the area, said: “The emotions of seeing people in such a situation as the Kerala floods drove me to help organise this event. I am from the Philippines, which is a country that has seen a lot of havoc. My heart goes out to the people affected – I could see myself in their situation.”



Organisers: Merlyn McGuire, Raphy George, Benny Palatti, Joshy Vargheese & Simon Giarchi

So together the two communities came together to organise a Harvest Supper of authentic Indian and Filipino food to raise funds for CAFOD’s and our Caritas partner’s in India emergency Keralan Floods appeal. In less than two weeks they’d reached out across the Catholic parishes in the Plymouth area and in their workplaces, particularly the local hospitals, and sold over 250 tickets!!!


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All had a great time at the Harvest Supper

The Harvest Supper was a great success thanks to all the volunteers who cooked and ran the event, with all who attended enjoying a tasty Keralan and Filipino meal and the great atmosphere. People came from across the city, as well as from the Catholic community a good number came from the city’s hospitals where many of the Kralan community work. All in all including with donations and raffle income too, the amazing event raised an inspirational £3,300!

Typhoon Mangkhut devistation

Destroyed homes from Super-Typhoon Mangkhut

Sadly, on the night of the Kerala Flood Fundraiser the Philippines was battered by ‘super-typhoon’ Mangkhut! That night the organisers planned another event a month later to support CAFOD/Caritas’ response for those affected by the ‘super-typhoon’. This time the event drew in around 150 people again from the Catholic parishes and from friends of the Filipino across the region and raised a fab £1,950!

Merlyn said “We were so happy with the amount we raised in a just a few hours and with the response from the community. We were so happy to have been able to work the Keralan community, who were so supportive and worked so hard. We had a good response, and my friends from the Filipino community helped me – bringing noodles, cake and dessert! The money we raised from both events went straight to CAFOD and their Caritas Partners in Kerala and the Philippines.”

Organisers Merlyn McGuire & Raphy George

Lead organisers Merlyn McGuire & Raphy George

Raphy George, one of the lead organisers and a representative of the Keralan community, added: “These joint efforts by the Filipino and Indian communities in the city. There has been great solidarity and compassion from the Filipino side and we are so grateful to work alongside them for all those affected by the natural disasters. We had a very good team behind us now and we were able to cook for hundreds of people from different walks of society, so we’ve also spread the word widely!”

It’s fair to say the events were a huge success raising a combined total over £5250 for CAFOD’s and our international Caritas partner’s responses to both emergencies. In India our Church partners rebuilding people’s lives after the floods are Caritas India, official development arm of the Catholic Church in India. CAFOD’s Filipino partners are Caritas Philippines known locally as NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines CBCP), Caritas Manila alongside the USA’s Caritas agency Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Our huge thanks in particular go to lead organisers Merlyn McGuire, Raphy George, Benny Palatti, Joshy Vargheese, Veron Farrow President of Filipino British Association in Plymouth (FBAIP) and Roly Cawaing President of Filipino British Society (FBS) who helped organise the events; as well as all of the amazing members of Plymouth’s Kerala Community and from the Filipino community organisations FBAIP and FBS! All of their efforts are already transforming the lives of many of our sisters and brothers affected by both natural disasters.

To find out more about how CAFOD helps in an emergency, visit: