Eparchial Human & Environmental Development Program Coordinator:
Dr. Lesya Sabada
E-mail: l.sabada@usask.ca

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Human and Environmental Development Program Vision and Mission

Vision Statement

To transform and inspire humanity to achieve a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Heavenly King, Advocate, Spirit of truth, Who are everywhere present and fill all things, Treasury of Blessings, Bestower of Life, come and dwell within us; cleanse us of all that defiles us; and, O Good One, save our souls.

 

Mission Statement

Mission

“We are well aware that the whole the creation, until this time, has been groaning in labour pains. And not only that: we too, who have the first-fruits of the spirit, we are even groaning inside ourselves, waiting with eagerness for our bodies to be set free.” Roman 8:22-23

 The mission of the HED program is to encourage and facilitate dialogue and activities between persons, cultures, and faiths:

            Peace and Justice

  • To identify and respond to discord, tension and conflict.
  • To reduce and alleviate misunderstanding, prejudice, fears, and hatred by learning to appreciate the richness of diversity.
  • To promote the spirit of understanding, respect, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence among all people and faiths.
  • To foster harmony and encourage personal and community growth.
  • To create and nurture hope for the future and inspire towards the common good.

Sustainability and the Environment

  • To create an awareness of the impact of human activities in their environment.
  • To minimize, reduce, and eliminate harmful practices that adversely impact earth and its ecosystems
  • To support, develop and implement remedial programs to correct and repair environmental damage caused by unstainable human activities.
  • To act on the realization that all creation and all life should be cherished, protected, healed and restored.

Please refer to the “Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church – Christ our Pascha” –  pages 305 to 308.

Great Fast Reflections

Great Fast Reflections - Part 1

Great Fast Reflections
– Human & Environmental Development Program – Dr. Lesya Sabada


Part 1: The Problem

How can the Church respond to ecological challenges while maintaining a focus on the Great Fast?

Purpose:  Christianity seeks to strengthen the Kingdom of God by promoting good thoughts and deeds, especially during the Great Fast.  For Eastern Church focuses on the restoration of the image of God. It is not set of imperatives. The goal is the imitation of Christ.  It’s a mode of being that is most practical and of the highest quality.

How does this translate into an approach to environmental issues? The richness of Eastern Christian theology of creation and its potential for giving a sense of spiritual direction at a time of environmental challenge, have become much more widely recognized in recent years.  The environmental crisis is symptomatic of a spiritual crisis. We must recognize that the Church engages with contemporary society in a very different way from any secular organization.  Its concern is not with transforming structures but with transforming humanity.   Transforming human beings means working on the inner self, wrestling with greed, selfishness, laziness, willful blindness and so forth, that distort my relationship with my Creator and creation alike.   Paradoxically, this act of turning inward to work within oneself is also the bedrock of any social and structural change.

What’s the Problem: Connected to this Eastern Christian view is the recognition of a problem with self-centeredness and evil imperfection within us. Self-centeredness is a bondage and a slavery. Sin is a block-out, a separation, a turning away from God to center on oneself.  Humanity’s course in life becomes centered on oneself.

→Part 2: Solution & Conclusion in March 31 & April 7 bulletin & on our website www.skeparchy.org
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Source: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/lent-2019/

This Lent, protect creation

Add a day of plant-based meals to your diet this Lent, or strive to eat only plant-based meals throughout the Lenten season.

Eating Simply for Lent

Fasting from meat on Fridays is part of our Catholic tradition. It’s a way to live in the simplicity and humility that Jesus offers us.

Growing in simplicity for Lent is a gift of the spirit. We now know that it’s also a way to sustainably inhabit our place in God’s creation.

Many of us enjoy meat, and we’re grateful for the farming families who make our meals possible. Focusing our diets on plant-based meals and enjoying meat as an occasional treat is a sustainable way of living in our common home.

It’s a surprising fact that cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon, and across Latin America–in Brazil, cattle ranching is responsible for approximately 80% of all deforestation. This land is often taken illegally from indigenous people.

It also surprises many people to learn that meat production is a major contributor to climate change. Weaving foods that protect creation into our diets is a way to love our neighbors, love that’s needed now more than ever.

Adding plant-based meals to our diets is an invitation to honor our Lenten tradition and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world.

PDF Copy of Great Fast Reflections- Part 1»»

Article & Photos on Season of Creation Akathist Service & Celebration, September 19, 2018, Saskatoon

Bringing the Season of Creation Alive in A Special Way in Central Saskatchewan - submitted by Christopher Hrynkow

Bringing the Season of Creation Alive in A Special Way in Central Saskatchewan
– submitted by Christopher Hrynkow
Chair, Communities Inspired for Environmental Action Central Saskatchewan

The Ecumenical Patriach Dimitrios I inaugurated the World Day of Prayer for the Environment on September 1, 1989. As part of Pope Francis’ ecumenical outreach and as an expression of his concern for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation undertaken in the spirit of St. Francis, in 2015 Pope Francis’ established the practice in the Catholic Church. As a result, Catholics are now called to participate in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation annually on September 1st. Here, Francis is also taking up a recommendation made in the Charta Oecumenica in 2001. That document, jointly issued by the Conference of European Churches and the Council of European Bishops Conferences recommends the establishment of an ecumenical day prayer for “the preservation of creation”.

In his 2015 letter mandating Catholic participation in the event, the Pope explicitly notes that day is meant to be an ecumenical event. Indeed, in that letter, Francis publicly instructs Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity to work with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the World Council of Churches, and “other ecumenical organizations so that this World Day can serve as a sign of a common journey in which all believers in Christ take part.”

Further in 2015 and drawing on diverse ecumenical examples ranging from the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines proclamation of “creation time” to European Ecumenical Assembly’s advocacy for a “time of creation”, which itself was adopted by the World Council of Churches, Pope Francis went one step further and in his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation proclaimed the period from September 1st until the feast of St. Francis on October 4th, the “Season of Creation”. That message, also returned to extolling the need for ecological conversion. To cite another cogent example, in this year’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation message, Pope Francis invites us to ponder the effects of social and ecological abuse on the Earth community as they relate to water, helping to ensure that this essential element for life is shared equality for the benefit of all.

While there have been events engaging these themes celebrating and reflecting on the Season of Creation in Saskatoon previously, the season was brought alive in a special way for Central Saskatchewan this fall by Dr. Lesya Sabada which are rooted in her identity as a Ukrainian Catholic with unique insights into Western and Eastern Christian traditions. To craft the evening proceedings, Dr. Sabada drew on her own understandings of the interfaith dimensions of caring for creation honed through time studying and teaching at the University of Saskatchewan, St. Thomas More College, St. Peter College in Munster, and her work for the World Council for Churches. She also drew on her impressive social network, to bring together a diverse group of religious leaders to pray and share insights about the value of creation and their work to care for the ecological world.

 Read More»»

Season of Creation Introduction Video with Dr. Lesya Sabada

News Article by Darlene Polachic published in Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 15, 2018

News Article by Darlene Polachic published in Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 15, 2018

‘Religion helps us understand the world’: Season of Creation celebrated in Saskatoon

Lesya Sabada believes that religion plays a critical role in constructing a global community of shared moral commitment and vision.

“Dr. Lesya Sabada pictured in Madagascar with boabab trees. The boabab, known as Africa’s Tree of Life, is losing life thanks to deteriorating environmental conditions. (For Saskatoon StarPhoenix Weekender Religion column by Darlene Polachic. For Sept 15, 2018)SASKATOON

If God had given an 11th commandment, Dr. Lesya Sabada believes it would be: Love the trees.

Sabada teaches at St. Thomas More College and also works with the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon in Human and Environmental Development.

“My academic focus expanded from Eastern Christianity to a broader study of the Abrahamic faiths and a developing interpretation of nonviolence,” she says. “Then I began exploring religious nonviolence as a precursor to ecological spirituality and religion’s contribution to sustainability. I have come to believe that environmental concerns are integrally linked with nonviolence and peace building.”

 Link to News Article by Darlene Polachic in Saskatoon StarPhoenix -September 15, 2018»»

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