As one eventful calendar year draws to an end we are already in a new Church year and are planning for 2022. After an advent-like period of waiting and quiet development, some of the things that the Office has been working on this year will come to birth early in 2022. Others will require a longer gestation.
We will contribute to formation in 2022 by providing solid foundations in the tradition of Catholic social thought and action. Formation is one of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s three priorities, and it was the focus of several proposals at the First Assembly of the Plenary Council. We are excited to launch our eight-session online course on Catholic social justice teaching in partnership with BBI-TAITE on 15 February 2022. Enrolments are now open.
We will also be providing prayer and reflection materials throughout the year, including for Laudato Si’ Week (16-24 May), Refugee Week (19-25 June), Social Justice Sunday (28 August) and the Season of Creation (the Sundays of September through to 4 October). You will hear about these through Social Justice Trends as well as our website www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au Facebook @socialjusticeACBC Twitter @JusticeCatholic and Instagram @JusticeCatholic feeds.
Our recently launched Signs of Our Times project in partnership with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane will continue to explore and encourage a culture of encounter. You can check out the initial set of resources at www.signstimes.net
Throughout the coming year we will unpack Pope Francis’ second social encyclical Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity and Social Friendship) through podcasts produced in partnership with the Australian Catholic University. Join me and my co-host Dr Emmanuel Nathan for these conversations at The Revolution of Tenderness.
I will also be kept busy contributing to the Plenary Council process as a member of the Drafting Committee and as one of the periti, chairing the planning group for the General Assembly of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania to be held in Suva in 2023, and participating in the Parishes and Dioceses Working Group for the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
Work on the Bishops Conference’s own Laudato Si’ Action Plan is now underway. We look forward to being able to lodge an initial plan via the Laudato Si’ Action Platform in May while continuing to discern and map out our seven-year journey.
In a related development, you may have noticed that we are continuing our digital transformation, printing fewer resources and doing so largely on a pre-order basis to reduce waste. At the same time, we have offered free downloadable discussion guides, prayer services, sharable graphics, and videos.
In the past we had a paid subscription model in which subscribers received value for money by making an annual payment and receiving in return all of our printed publications. This model has been in transition as we have been feeling our way forward. In these past two years the annual $30 contributions of our Supporters have helped us to cover the costs of preparing material that we have distributed electronically without charge. In return our Supporters have received printed copies of the annual Social Justice Statement and supporting materials, a discount on Catholic Social Justice Series papers ordered via the ACBC Online Shop, our gratitude, and prayers. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank our Supporters for their generosity which enables us to reach a wider audience. We are changing with the times, and we are grateful that you are on the journey with us, supporting us financially and in so many other ways. May the joy of Christmas remain with you throughout the year!
Dr Sandie Cornish
Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace