Image of Pope Francis addressing the interfaith delegation with Bishop John in shot

One Year after Papal Audience: Reflecting on our commitment

Thursday 25th April 2024

It has been one year since Bishop John led a delegation of faith and civic leaders to Rome for a historic meeting with Pope Francis, and our diocese is on track in fulfilling our environmental pledge to the Holy Father.

The delegation’s environmental pledge which was presented to Pope Francis by Bishop John during a private audience on 20th April 2023, focused on three key areas:

“To support the use of renewable technology and accelerate the decarbonisation of our places of worship, to use our land to help heal nature and increase biodiversity, and to encourage our communities to engage in proactive transformational behavioural change”.

The meeting not only marked a significant moment in our diocesan journey but also set the stage for us to embark on a series of ambitious initiatives for the good of our common home.

Reflecting on the year since this pivotal meeting, we have, as a diocese, made remarkable strides towards fulfilling our pledge.

Renewable technology and decarbonization efforts

The diocese has completed decarbonization audits of over 350 buildings, laying the foundation for a sustainable future. Additionally, the installation of solar panels on over 70 schools and the Cathedral Centre represents a significant leap forward in reducing our carbon footprint. Efforts to develop a sustainable funding model for deploying solar panels on our places of worship are also underway.

Helping to heal nature and increase biodiversity

The diocese has opened the woodland at the Laudato Si Centre and planted more than 200 species of trees and hedges. This initiative, coupled with the planting of bulbs and other plant species conducive to wildlife, underscores our dedication to healing nature and fostering biodiversity. Moreover, the provision of guidance for schools and parishes on gardening for wildlife further amplifies their efforts to encourage ecological diversity.

Encouraging our communities

As a diocese, we recognise the importance of community engagement in caring for the environment and through our Laudato Si Centre we have continued to provide guidance through the Guardians of Creation Project, offering opportunities to schools and parishes to learn about caring for creation. Through education and creative activities, the diocese continues to inspire proactive, transformational changes in how our communities interact with and protect their natural surroundings.

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