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From the Founder: Blessed are Those who Believe

Dear Friend,

“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)  

As we head into year three of the pandemic, I thought of this line from John’s Gospel. An online search revealed several Sunday school lessons that linked the Doubting Thomas story with COVID19. One featured hairspray: you can’t see it, but you know it’s doing its job.  

These lessons struck me as ironic. Children get the message more readily than adults. But far too many adults act as if the unseen threat is not there.  

The same can be said of climate change. Young people see a grim future because invisible and excessive greenhouse gases are doing their job a bit too well. Yet for most adults, we simply go about our lives as if our CO2-spewing cars, homes, businesses and flights aren’t multiplying the threat of extreme floods and droughts.  

Climate anxiety, especially among young people, is real. Stack on the social isolation of the pandemic, the deterioration of our civic discourse (often spilling over into our churches) and threats to our democracy, and it’s not hard to understand why more and more young people are looking elsewhere for hope, and leaving institutional solutions, including from our Church, behind.  

Let’s all face reality as we head into Lent. We must rise to the real threat posed by climate change, lower the temperature on our civic discourse, purposefully encounter the “other”—including disillusioned young people—and embrace their story. And we must live a Christian life worthy of the example of Jesus, who loved all, especially the lost, the lonely, the forgotten, the outcast. 

With blessings,  


Dan Misleh  
Catholic Climate Covenant


Catholic Climate Covenant Updates

Action of the Month:

Ask Congress to support families & protect our common home 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services are urging Catholics to contact their congressional Representatives and ask them to pass a 2022 budget that, as Pope Francis has said, “places human dignity and the common good at the center.”   

  • First, USCCB is asking for support for the Child Tax Credit: “Last year, more than 36 million families received a monthly payment through the expanded Child Tax Credit, which lifted 3.8 million children above the poverty line. The U.S. Bishops are asking Congress to extend the expanded Child Tax Credit, ensuring it remains fully refundable so that it is available to the lowest income families and that it continues to include mixed-status families.” The USCCB’s ask also encourages Catholics to ask their Representatives to advance climate investment policies that will help protect our common home: “For this reason, USCCB encourages Congress to advance climate investment policies that will help protect our common home, including tax incentives to support existing and emerging technologies in clean energy, resilience investments focused on protecting low-income and minority communities, and incentives to decarbonize the economy.” Read more and support here. 

  • Catholic Relief Services also reminds us that the spread of COVID-19 makes people who are hungry and malnourished even more vulnerable to poverty, disease, disaster and related deaths. CRS urges Catholics to lift our voices by contacting their congressional representatives and asking them to protect poverty-reducing international assistance in the fiscal year 2022 budget. Read more and support here. 

Your voice is needed now to help our global family! 

February's Online Conversation to Explore Synod, Creation Care and Eucharist on FEB 10 

Don’t miss Catholic Climate Covenant February 10th online conversation to discuss three critical movements where all U.S. Catholics are invited and needed: the Synod on Synodality; the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.; and the U.S. Eucharistic Revival movement.  

Together in the Journey: The Synod the Laudato Si' Action Platform and the Eucharistic Revival" happens Thursday, February 10th from Noon to 1:15 p.m. Eastern. Register today! 

Sign up for Ecospirituality Nights!  

As we enter a new year, all are welcome to join the Catholic Climate Covenant young adult community for Ecospirituality Nights, a virtual series exploring the spiritual foundations of our work for climate justice. Each speaker will offer a reflection open to attendees of all ages, as well as a special, intimate follow-up conversation with young adults ages 18-39. 

The next follow-up conversation geared for young adults is February 21st with Christina Leaño, Associate Director of Laudato Si' Movement, (following the general keynote last week,) and the next keynote conversation open for all ages is March 21st with Sr. Joan Brown, OSF, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. 

Events require separate registrations, which will be linked on the webpage as they become available. Those who register for any one event will be notified of opportunities to register for all events. 

Laudato Si’ keynotes from Cardinal Cupich and Maureen Day Now Available 

The Journal of Moral Theology has published two keynote addresses from the second convening of “Laudato Si’ and the US Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,” co-sponsored by Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University. You can read the keynotes from Cardinal Blase Cupich and Maureen Day here.   

Pope Francis to meet with college students - Congrats to our own Emily Burke and Henry Glynn!

Pope Francis will meet with college students in virtual dialogue hosted by Chicago's Loyola University, and we are happy to announce our own part-time social media manager Emily Burke, and our new intern Henry Glynn, will be part of this virtual event with the Pope!  Emily is a recent alumna of Creighton University and a current doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the joint Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology Program. Henry is a junior at Creighton University majoring in Political Science and Theology.

“Pope Francis will meet with Catholic university students across the Western Hemisphere in a virtual dialogue hosted by Loyola University Chicago on Feb. 24 as part of the ongoing consultation process for the Synod of Bishops,” wrote the National Catholic Reporter about the meeting. Read the article here.

The Covenant announces winners of the Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants program 

Nearly $100,000 was awarded to 100 Catholic organizations working locally to care for our common home. Half of the funding for the first year of the program came from the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (aka Victory Noll Sisters) and the other half from generous donors.  

Among the grant winners are college campus ministries, parishes, elementary and high school creation care programs, charities agencies, state Catholic conferences, men and women religious communities, and many others. To view a full list of winners, click here.  

For many grant winners, projects will be part of their Laudato Si’ Action Platform efforts, the Vatican’s global initiative for Catholic institutions to commit to a seven-year sustainability journey.  

Taking a stand for voting rights  

As the Senate debated voting rights following Martin Luther King’s birthday, Catholic Climate Covenant urged President Biden and all Members of Congress to support strong voting rights legislation.  

“As an organization lifting up care for creation and climate action from the foundation of the Catholic faith, we recognize that a functioning democracy is critical to creating the solutions we seek for the common good and our common home,” read part of the statement.   

More Creation Care News

TODAY at 12:30 p.m. EST! A dialogue on “Faith, Politics, and Policy in 2022”  

Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life will host online conversation today, February 1 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, about how faith shapes politics and how politics shapes faith in 2022, with a New York Times religion reporter, a major evangelical leader, a director of a faith-based organizing network, a leader of Catholic advocacy in Indiana and the director of Georgetown’s new Center on Faith and Justice.  

More Americans facing extreme weather, report says  

More than 4 in 10 Americans live in a county that was struck by climate-related extreme weather last year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal disaster declarations. At least 656 people died amid the onslaught of disasters and the cost of the destruction tops $104 billion, even before officials calculate the final toll of wildfires, drought and heat waves in the West. The study is another demonstration of why our cause and our actions are so urgent: People are suffering deeply from the effects of climate change. 

Earth Day’s 2022 Theme: Invest In Our Planet  

The global organizer of Earth Day announced the theme this year will be “Invest In Our Planet,” focused on engaging people, governments, institutions and businesses to recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all.  

As is our tradition, the Covenant will use this theme to produce an Earth Day program for use in small group settings. Look for this soon! 

A good read: Does a river have legal rights?  

National Catholic Reporter’s Barbara Fraser wrote a fascinating story about legal action in court in Peru demanding that the Marañón River be recognized as having rights — essentially, that it be considered a legal person. 

The lawsuit is the first such case in Peru and is part of a movement gaining momentum, as court rulings and legislation increasingly recognize that nature has rights, Fraser writes. The rights of rivers' movement, in particular, is grounded not only in the importance of aquatic ecosystems, but also in their spiritual significance, especially for Indigenous peoples. 

EPA Announces Actions to Protect Overburdened Communities  

Following his Journey to Justice Tour, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan announced this week a series of actions responding directly to concerns of communities historically and disproportionately impacted by pollution. The actions range from policy changes to community-driven efforts. Administrator Regan’s announcement of the new actions state that the new efforts seek to deliver environmental justice, and work toward building a better America for all. Read the full statement here

News from our Creation Care Teams  

St. John the Baptist, Covington, WA: A recipient of a Victory Noll Sisters grant, the Creation Care Team of St. John the Baptist will create a pollinator garden using the Back to Eden method. The Creation Care Team has also invited parishioners to embrace their baptismal call in the area of stewardship of creation and to sign up for the Laudato Si’  Action Platform. 

St. Joe's in Norman, OK, is offering internships to “get the energy and perspective of young adults into our group discussions.” The parish also planted a native Redbud in front of the Parish Center and sponsored an art contest to reach parishioners and those in the broader community. 

St. Anthony of Padua, Fairfield, CT, named their newly formed group S.A.V.E. - St. Anthony’s Values the Environment. Clever! Some early accomplishments include a vegetable garden whose produce is donated to the Merton House, an organization that provides meals to the poor. The parish received a Victory Nolls Grant to enlarge and enclose the gardens.  

St. John Neumann in Reston, VA, worked with the parish accountant and financial council to purchase renewable energy certificates to support the growth and development of renewable energy technologies nationwide. The REC purchase matches electricity usage and offsets natural gas usage. The parish is also hosting the first of a five-part diocesan webinar series on Feb 8 with Dr. Catherine Wright, who will discuss Why Catholics Care for Creation. 

From the Diocese of San Diego: They report that last year their Core Team produced a Climate Action Plan for the diocese. They now have an implementation guide in English and Spanish. The Plan requires action responses at the individual, parish and civic community or advocacy levels. Each action level completed is recognized with a certificate of accomplishment. Once a parish CCT has completed all three action levels they are recognized by the bishop as a Laudato Si' Parish and certified to assist other parishes or schools to implement the Creation Care Action Plan.

News from Catholic Climate Covenant’s Partners  

Franciscan Action Network invited members to participate in Living the Change, joining a multi-faith community around the world in choosing one new low-carbon lifestyle change between January 1-31.  

Caritas International launched its new global campaign, TOGETHER WE, in celebration of its 70th Anniversary. The campaign, which runs until the end of 2024, intends to motivate people to act on the messages of Laudato Si' and Fratelli Tutti by supporting the formation of small groups in local communities around the globe to learn about Catholic Social Teaching and to develop activities for local and global impact.  

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is helping facilitate the participation of U.S. Religious in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. More than 50 congregations of men and women religious have submitted commitment statements pledging to begin the journey this year! LCWR has also signed a number of letters and statements in support of environmental justice and shared action alerts with members. 

The Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries is advocating for the FOREST Act, which would bar imports into the U.S. of goods sourced through illegal deforestation. More than 60 groups signed onto a letter to members of Congress on this, many of them Catholic religious orders.  

Great work all!  

Catholic Climate Covenant provides all its programs and resources free of charge. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to  inspire and equip people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. Through our 19 national partners, we guide the U.S. Church's response to climate change by educating, giving public witness, and offering resources. Thank you for giving to care for creation and care for the poor.

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