Floodwaters force closure of churches, schools and shelters

Published: 01 March 2022

Major flooding has affected communities in Queensland and in northern New South Wales, with Brisbane City inundated and Lismore experiencing its worst flood on record. Source: The Catholic Leader.

Brisbane ground to a halt with more than 980 schools shut yesterday and millions of people forced to work from home after three days of torrential rain.

Authorities estimate up to 15,000 properties could be affected by floodwaters as the Brisbane River reached its likely peak yesterday morning, inundating low-lying areas across the city.

Eight people have died in flood waters since last week and three are still missing.

Parish staff in low-lying and flood-prone Church properties surveyed the damage after a break in the rain yesterday. With many parish and school offices forced to close, it would still be some time before the full extent of the damage was realised.

South Brisbane ministries like Emmanuel City Mission, a shelter for Brisbane’s homeless and vulnerable people, have been forced to close its doors due to flood damage.

In Brisbane’s CBD, Eagle Street had flooded and blocked the road into St Stephen’s Cathedral carpark. The cathedral ran on a limited Mass schedule today.

Australian Catholic University was set to welcome its students back for the first day of the academic calendar but due to flooding, the Banyo campus was closed and students were directed to online learning.

South of the border, Lismore Diocese yesterday posted a photo showing St Carthage’s Cathedral with water half-way up the front door. The diocese post said, “No words to describe how our community is feeling”.

St Carthage’s Primary School, Trinity Catholic College, Presentation House and Doyle House were all heavily affected by the floods, the diocese reported.

Wilsons River in Lismore was two metres higher than its historic peak, NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke reported. The river was yesterday sitting at 14.36 metres and rising, which smashed the 1954 record of 12.17 metres.


Brisbane gets small morning reprieve to inspect damages after 72 hours hard rain (By Joe Higgins, The Catholic Leader)

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Praying for Those Affected by the Queensland Floods (PDF)


Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.

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2021-22 Social Justice Statement

Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor

The Bishops’ Social Justice Statement 2021-22: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, affirms that “we human beings need a change of heart, mind, and behaviour”. It draws from Scripture, from the theological tradition, from Catholic Social Teaching, and from the wisdom of the world, including the insights of the First Nations.

The Social Justice Statement 2021-22 provides theological foundations to ground and inspire efforts to care for creation while responding to the needs of the disadvantaged and excluded. The Statement reflects on creation in and through the Trinity; the sacramentality of all created things; the wonder and beauty available to the contemplative eye; and the need for conversion and change of life.

In the Statement, the Bishops invite the whole Catholic community to join them in taking up Pope Francis’ invitation to a seven-year journey towards total ecological sustainability, guided by seven Laudato Si’ Goals. These Goals are: response to the cry of the earth; response to the cry of the poor; ecological economics; sustainable lifestyles; ecological spirituality; ecological education; and community engagement and participatory action.

The Statement especially encourages Catholic families, communities and organisations to: listen to the First Nations; reflect on the theological foundations offered in Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor; and plan their next steps towards the Laudato Si’ Goals.

Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor will be a useful resource throughout our seven-year journey to total sustainability. Your help in promoting it through your networks would be greatly appreciated.