How I celebrate Laudato Sí
Recently I read the bishop’s column in NC Catholics. He asked readers, “How do we approach the gift of life, admiring and contemplating all of creation?”
In his writing and ministry, Bishop Luis is taking creation seriously. It resonated with me because creation is close to my heart, too.
Exciting initiatives have begun within parishes and at the diocesan level to answer Pope Francis’ call in his 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Sí – Care for Our Common Home.
I hope this is a journey others will take with me. We can take it together, especially during the global Laudato Sí week celebrations happening May 21 - May 28.
The encyclical asks us to respond to the “cry of the poor.” Community gardens at parishes such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas More, Holy Cross and Our Lady of Lourdes grow sustainable produce for those in need. Parishes like St. Raphael the Archangel participated in the diocesan-wide invitation to Greener Lent that reduces our carbon footprint.
Programs at Holy Cross and St. Francis have invited confirmation students to consider how climate change impacts the poor, and how reducing beef consumption is good for the planet. Events at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, St. Michael the Archangel and Immaculate Conception are highlighting Laudato Sí actions to promote ecological justice.
In Laudato Sí, Catholics and all mankind, are asked to hear the “cry of the earth,” and local parishes are listening. The community at St. Michael has electronic recycling collections while encouraging its 5th grade recycling club. Solar panels have been installed at Immaculate Conception, St. Matthew, St. Thomas More and St. Francis.
A husband-and-wife team at St. Francis developed what’s called the Earth Friendly Practice Team of Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle, which reaches all faiths and cultures. Prayerful consideration at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral has led to a monthly Laudato Sí Circle and Gather at the Globe sessions.
One such event is happening Saturday, May 20 at 2 p.m. beside the outdoor world globe of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences at 11 W. Jones St. in downtown Raleigh. Following the pope’s call to eco-spirituality, we gather to reflect and pray for the Earth and its inhabitants.
Immaculate Conception has shared its inspiring Laudato Sí Action Platform plan. This framework shows how their parish cares for the gift of creation and serves as inspiration.
The urgent message of Laudato Sí was seen in a viewing of the documentary, “The Letter” highlighting Pope Francis and guest protagonists from Senegal, India, the Amazon and Hawaii. (Good news: ‘The Letter’ is 80 minutes, free to view and may be found on YouTube Originals. I’m one of the eight million people who have watched since its October release!)
A showing of this film will occur Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the St Monica Center, which is in downtown Raleigh at the corner of W. Edenton and N. Dawson Streets, near Sacred Heart Church. (Viewers are invited to join on Zoom as well. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the link.)
Do I hope you may watch the documentary? Sure. I’m also inviting you to join the journey for the preservation of our common home. There are things you can do as an individual. There are places to start as a parish. And if your parish already has some initiatives underway, there may be more you can do.
North Carolina Catholics Caring for our Common Home, a new diocesan ministry, can help. Its mission is to help area Catholics become better stewards of the earth and to care for all of God’s creatures. This ministry, which goes by NCCCCH, is reaching out to everyone in the diocese.
To learn more about the ministry or events written about here, please reach out to Deacon Joshua Klickman at Joshua.Klickman@raldioc.org or Monica Kleimeyer at email@example.com.
Care for Creation resources from the Diocese of Raleigh