Sponsored Eco Leadership Initiative for Sydney Parishes

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 Feb 2016

The Justice and Peace Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has  launched its inaugural Laudato Si' Leadership Initiative.

The Initiative is inspired by and takes its name from the recent Encyclical Letter by Pope Francis, Laudato Si', and has three main goals:

  • to encourage new ecology-based projects in Archdiocesan parishes;
  • to cultivate leadership skills amongst Catholics in Sydney; and
  • to promote the teaching of Laudato Si'.

The Initiative will seek to achieve these goals by identifying and supporting parishioners who have the capacity to lead change within their communities. 

Justice and Peace Promoter, Father Peter Smith

The Justice and Peace Office will select up to four Sydney parishes to participate in the Initiative and will sponsor one parishioner from each of those parishes to attend the Laudato Si' Animator Program conducted by Catholic Earthcare Australia, the Environmental Agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Animator Program is a live-in program for four days at Gerringong, NSW, from 23 - 26 February 2016.

During the course of the program, participants will be exposed to contemporary ecological theology, scientific understandings of sustainability and transformative social processes that have been successfully implemented with organisations across Australia.  Participants are required to do some individual preparatory work prior to the program and some follow-up work with peers after the program.

For the four selected individuals, the Justice and Peace Office will cover the $990 cost of the program and provide an additional $100 for travel and other incidentals associated with attending the program.

It is hoped that following completion of the Program, the selected leaders will return to their parish, utilising their new-found learning by leading and working with others to complete an ecology-based project, which has been chosen by their parish.

Suggestions for a project from the Justice and Peace Office include:

  • creating a more sustainable parish;
  • creating a garden within the parish grounds;
  • raising awareness about Laudato Si', integral ecology and Catholic social teachings in this area; or
  • building relationships with others who are working within the community, welcome them into to the parish and work with them to improve the local environment.

Expressions of interest for the Initiative are being sought by close of business next Friday, 11 February and can be emailed to

The expressions of interest should include:

  • a short description of the proposed ecology-based project which has been agreed upon at a parish level (including by the parish Priest);
  • the name, contact details and short biography of the person nominated;
  • a short statement as to the level of consultation within the parish and, if relevant, outside the parish;
  • a short statement as to the level of support and participation of the parish; and
  • any other relevant information.

For further information about the Initiative, see the Justice and Peace Office website:

The Initiative is based on Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si