Notre Dame College Theme for 2020


Hear the Cry of the Earth

Our theme this year is firmly based around the contemporary and controversial issue of climate change, so it has an immediate connection to all groups within our community. This theme will prompt our students and staff to be at the forefront of climate change issues and focus our thoughts, prayers and actions towards a Catholic understanding of the need to look after our home. It will also open up theological education in creation, God’s plans for us and the message that Pope Francis is currently sending to the world in his encyclical Laudato Si.

The theme will be used across many of our curriculum areas; it will have a particular focus in Religious Education subjects, but will also be explored in science, humanities, hospitality and PBL subjects as well as being an inspiration for VCAL projects.

Pope Francis published his encyclical ‘On care for our common home’ - Laudato Si in 2015 and we will be using this as a resource to inspire and guide our actions.

The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis of Assisi, “Praise be to you, my Lord” and outlines the concept of integral ecology which is able to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person: with God, with one’s self, with other human beings and with creation.

Some principal concepts are continually taken up and enriched, including ‘the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet’ and ‘the conviction that everything in the world is connected’.

At the heart of Laudato Si we find this question:

“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

“Through the examination of conscience, one would regularly review, not only how one has lived in communion with God, with others and with oneself, but also with all creatures and with nature”


Prayers to offer as part of this theme

Pope Francis concludes the encyclical by giving us two prayers.

At the conclusion of this lengthy reflection which has been both joyful and troubling, I propose that we offer two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus.

 A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.


 A Christian prayer in union with creation

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love. Praise be to you!

Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes. Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail. You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.

Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.

The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!