human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

A Jubilee for the earth: Integral ecology

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Introduction: Francis Stewart

This year’s ecumenical Season of Creation takes its theme from an ancestry common to all Christians – that of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament laws of Leviticus. In chapter 25 of Leviticus, we read of Moses being commanded that a Jubilee is to be proclaimed every 50th year. The Jubilee was to mark the end of the cycle of Sabbaths, according to which, every 7th year, there should be neither reaping nor sowing on the land. On the 50th year, debts are written-off, slaves are freed and all return to their families to eat only what the land provides.

Taking inspiration from this custom of allowing the land to rest and restoring relationships, Pope Francis joined fellow Christian leaders around the world in calling for a Jubilee for the earth.

As we read in Leviticus, the Jubilee is a time of celebration, to be announced by trumpet-blast. Pope Francis, in his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation (September 1st), suggested as much: “A Jubilee is indeed a time of grace to remember creation’s original vocation to exist and flourish as a community of love. We exist only in relationships: with God the Creator, with our brothers and sisters as members of a common family, and with all of God’s creatures within our common home.”[1]

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About the authors
Francis Stewart was born in Lancaster, in the North West of England. He attended St Bernadette’s Catholic Parish and studied at Durham University for his undergraduate degree (Combined Honours, Philosophy, Theology, Anthropology) and for his Master’s Degree (Christian Theology: Catholic Studies). He did 8 months of care work before becoming permanently employed with CAFOD in 2018.


Kezia Lavan is a Programme Officer in the Brazil team of CAFOD, accompanying partners in São Paulo, in the north-eastern of Brazil and the Amazon regions in their work to defend land, housing and environmental rights of the poorest people. In the Day-to-day work this involves supporting partners to review and develop their work, find and manage funding, provide a listening ear when things go wrong and bring stories from Brazil to UK audiences. A lot of the time she can be found burrowing through CAFOD and Brazilian bureaucracy so that the partners’ wonderful work can carry on. Pre-Covid19 she could occasionally be found in the favelas, in the Brazilian nut groves and landless worker encampments of Brazil. Nowadays she works from home, speaking Portuguese over Zoom and dreaming of carnival.


Kezia Lavan

Programme Officer - Brazil team
Caritas England and Wales (CAFOD)
Francis Stewart
Theology Programme Advisor
Caritas England and Wales (CAFOD)

faith and action