From the Founder:
Gratitude and Hope for 2023
Years ago, the county sent a notice that it was time to renew our license for Stretch, our adorable little dog. They listed him as a “German Shepherd Mix.” Look at the pic and you’ll laugh as our family did at the time. Stretch was about as far from a big “security” dog as you can get. Heck, he’d even tip his head up to lick-kiss his vet as he poked and prodded! While there was no proof of German Shepherd in his DNA, I’m convinced there was a lot of Teddy Bear.
On New Year’s Day he succumbed to cancer in dramatic fashion. On New Year’s Eve he was so energetic I thought the October diagnosis had to be wrong. But by 10 am on the 1st he collapsed and couldn’t get back up on his short legs. My wife and I held him as the emergency vet administered euthanasia. We thanked him for choosing our home for 13 years and thanked God for creating such a funny and lovable creature.
Despite a tough start to 2023, gratitude remains at the top of my list of resolutions: gratitude for Stretch, for God’s wonderous creation, for the opportunity to do this important work. On behalf of our staff, board, and partners, I also express my gratitude to all who gave so generously to our end-of-year fundraising campaign. We landed just shy of our $150,000 goal but are very pleased with the outpouring of support.
We have big plans for this year and hope you will continue to be engaged with us as we expand our youth and young adult work, as we watch Congress carefully to ensure there are no rollbacks on climate policy, and as we grow our Catholic Energies program, among so many other important activities, programs, and initiatives.
All of us at Catholic Climate Covenant – and all the members of our families – extend our warmest wishes, heartfelt thanks, and our ongoing prayers to you as we enter 2023.
Grateful as always,
Catholic Climate Covenant
Honoring the life of Pope Benedict XVI, the ‘green pope’
As we honor the life of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, we reflect on his legacy of creation care. Known to many as "The Green Pope," he lived out an integral ecology in word and deed. He even oversaw the installation of 2,700 solar panels in the Vatican in 2008.
As our founder Dan Misleh told National Catholic Reporter, “people sort of have their view and their vision of a general theme of a papacy. And I think many have forgotten that [for] Benedict XVI one of the key themes of his papacy was care for creation.”
Benedict once wrote, "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation. The quest for peace by people of good will surely would become easier if all acknowledge the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the whole of creation."
Catholic Climate Covenant expresses deep gratitude for Benedict’s life and service to the Church and to the world. May he rest in peace.
Catholic Climate Covenant Updates
Action item: Join the Encounter for our Common Home campaign!
Members of the Encounter for Our Common Home campaign accomplished significant victories last year. Hundreds conducted legislative visits with members of Congress, and many of the 850 campaign members followed up with messages and phone calls before the Inflation Reduction Act passed with nearly $370 billion in climate investments. In November, we texted over 75,000 Catholic voters in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin encouraging them to “vote for creation” in the midterm elections.
In 2023, we will continue to build this Catholic climate advocacy community through monthly meetings for the entire Encounter community. These meetings will include updates from CCC staff and partners on national advocacy efforts and fruitful discussion about your advocacy goals at state and local levels as well.
All are welcome! Join the campaign here to receive information regarding the first call. Contact Henry, CCC Policy Advisor, with any questions or concerns at email@example.com.
Jan 10TH: Join our webinar on the Future of Catholic Climate Advocacy
Join Catholic Climate Covenant staff and colleagues in dialogue about the progress being made in the clean energy transition through the Inflation Reduction Act, global commitments made at COP27 in November, and climate advocacy goals for the new U.S. Congress following the midterm elections. This policy webinar will serve as a precursor for a webinar focusing on implementing IRA, living out the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, and making Catholic buildings more sustainable. We look forward to seeing you at both these webinars and kicking off an exciting year for the U.S. Catholic community!
What: The Future of Catholic Climate Advocacy: IRA, COP27, and a New Congress
When: Tuesday, January 10, 2023 – 1-2pm ET
Where: Zoom – register to attend here
Who: You! (& speakers Lindsey Fielder Cook and Fr. Eduardo Agosta Scarel)
From the Blog: 7 key resources for enlisting your parish or diocese in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform
If you’re eager for your parish or diocese to participate in the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform, but don’t know where to start, we have some good news. We’ve collected here some excellent resources from parishes and dioceses, sharing everything from spiritual insights and practical tips to action items and accountability measures.
Read our latest blog 7 key resources for enlisting your parish or diocese in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, to find the latest parish and diocesan resources to help you and your church engage with the LSAP, which can be found at www.godsplanet.us, the hub for U.S. Catholic LSAP activities and resources.
Catholic Climate Covenant is hiring!
Catholic Climate Covenant seeks a part-time (5-10 hours/week) website developer and website manager for its new Catholic Climate Action Projects (CathCAP) program. CathCAP will be officially launched in the spring as a carbon offset program for the Catholic community.
The CathCAP website developer will oversee the built-from-scratch CathCAP website and work directly with the CathCAP coordinator to ensure the website functions properly and to perform edits as needed.
Read the full job description here.
Maryknoll Affiliates publishes LSAP Worksheets
Maryknoll Affiliates Working Group has published Laudato Si’ Action Plan worksheets designed to help households discuss and choose actions to commit to over 7 years.
The worksheets are meant to stand alone and serve anyone who downloads them from the Gods Plan(et) website. However, a group or a parish could start the program as a New Year's initiative, or a Lenten initiative, for example.
The worksheets and supporting resources can be found here: #1 – 3 are available now and all 7 will be available by March.
Hopeful Signs Regarding Plastic Alternatives
Nancy LaVerda, a Catholic Climate Covenant Public Health Volunteer, wrote about trying to live the messages of Laudato Si while buying beverages. Since most plastic is not recyclable, it contributes to a throwaway culture. But Nancy did some research and found scientists developing alternatives to plastic, including shrimp shells(!), which can be converted to objects that rapidly biodegrade in compost. Read more about Nancy’s research here.
January 10, 6:30pm CT: Free screening of Francesco, a documentary about Pope Francis.
Franciscans For Earth Eco-Series is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The registration links (separate ones for in-person and on-line via Zoom) may be found at https://franciscansisters-olph.org/events/.
Join CSMG 2023 , where panelists will discuss how we are called to be on guard against violent conflict and build bridges when there is so much unjust conflict in our world.
Don’t miss this transformative annual gathering for leaders in Catholic social ministry and advocacy! Register Now for the 2023 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering!
January 31- April 25, 7 pm EST: Understanding Laudato Si: A virtual study
The Archdiocese of Louisville invites you to participate in a virtual series of four 90-minute discussions of Laudato Si’. The first meeting will be held on January 31 at 7 pm et. The April Zoom will discuss the seven goals of the Laudato Si' Action Platform. To register, go here: https://tally.so/r/w2EWPM
Flyer available here: https://bit.ly/understandinglaudatosi
Laudato Si’ Movement: Key 2023 Dates
The Laudato Si’ Movement has shared key dates in the coming year. Put them on your calendar!
- Laudato Si' Animators Course will begin in April and continue through the year, including online and face-to-face sessions in some regions
- Laudato Si' Week: May 21-28.
- World Youth Day: August 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Season of Creation: September 1- October 4.
- COPs: as every year, we will experience COP 28 on Climate Change, scheduled tentatively from November 6-17; and COP 16, on biodiversity, in December.
- Global Encounters: we will hold three online encounters throughout the year. The first will be on February 18, then on June 17, and finally on October 21.
National Catholic Reporter’s EarthBeat collected 10 most popular stories of 2022, and several include coverage of Catholic Climate Covenant members and our partners. Number three was about young Catholics, including our social media manager, delivering a critique of US church leaders' climate silence straight to the pope. Number five covered our survey showing Catholics’ deep disappointment about the US bishops' avoidance of church teaching on creation care.
COP delivered historic deal to protect biodiversity
The nations of the world secured a historic deal on behalf of nature at the United Nations biodiversity summit in December, charting a path to undo decades of ecosystem destruction. A key part of the global pact aims to halt and reverse the rapid loss of biodiversity and set aside 30% of the world's lands, oceans and waters for ecological conservation. A coalition of faith-based organizations expressed great hope for the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework reached among 195 countries. "A lot of what we had hoped for is in there," Amy Echeverria, international coordinator for justice, peace and integrity of creation with the Missionary Society of St. Columban, told EarthBeat.
U.S. Congress passes food security act
Congratulations to Catholic Relief Services and its partners on the passage of the U.S on the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act in December. The act supports pathways to resilience for chronically food insecure communities, acknowledges the negative impact of extreme weather events on global food security, uplifts women farmers and promotes a sustainable and inclusive food system.
Three Catholic sisters were among 11 entrepreneurs recognized with a Builders of Africa's Future award in 2022 by the African Diaspora Network. Each sister wrote a column about their experiences, which are collected here.
Interdiocesan Creation Care Network
The Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis’s Care for Creation continues to reach out to parishes in a variety of ways: supporting for Parish Care for Creation teams; offering info on working with nonprofits on energy audits; developing Season of Creation and other spirituality resources for reflection on Laudato Si’. The team is working to submit a proposed Laudato Si’ Action Plan for the Archdiocese and hopes to have a plan in place by late November.
The Diocese of San Diego Creation Care ministry was a hive of eco-activity as usual, screening The Letter, the excellent new documentary on Pope Francis and Creation Care; joining Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish for a Mass and blessing of trees (22 trees were given to parishioners for planting at home.) The Barrio Logan neighborhood, where the parish is situated, has a tree canopy of only 1%, the least plentiful in the region, making this action critical to fighting heat island effect in this community. The Creation Care ministry also conducted energy audits at parishes, continuing work with Interfaith Coalition for Earth Justice, pressed Wells Fargo on fossil fuel divestment, and helped parishes stand against the introduction of an industrial warehouse in a neighborhood where air quality is already the worst in the state of California due to high diesel truck traffic and port activity. The ministry is also beginning an internship program with the University of San Diego to help with surveys and solarization evaluation; research policy and generate climate communications pieces for social media; and mapping the environmental vulnerability/capacity factors of all the parishes in the diocese.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta Laudato Si Initiative conducted an #IGiveCatholic campaign to raise funds for its growing program. Sustainability Coordinator Leonard Robinson has developed a Laudato Si Initiative External Fundraising Strategy to engage companies to financially support this sustainability initiative by giving them marketing opportunities at various levels. On January 25, the Initiative will host leaders of the thirty Creation Care Teams from the 2017, 2020 and 2022 cohorts as they participate in a 6-hour workshop. They will discuss best practices and case studies, fundraising strategies, how to get started and where the Initiative is headed.
The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Care for Creation Ministry is having its first annual film week February 4-11, showing "The Letter" based on Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si'. Parishes are committing to hosting the film and the archdiocese will provide a hosting toolbox and promotional materials.
The Holy Name of Jesus in Redlands, California partnered with its parish school (Sacred Heart Academy) this past Halloween to offer a Terracycle recycling bin for candy wrappers. This year, the parish is re-starting its partnership with the Redlands Conservancy habitat restoration to host family friendly volunteer opportunities for prayer, reflection, and service.
St. Francis of Assisi in Sacramento, California, helped organize and lead a Laudato Si’ kickoff event with a dinner and gathering that brought together urban and rural parishes in the far-flung Sacramento Diocese. Bishop Jaime Soto began and ended the gathering, which included testimonies from marginalized communities affected by air pollution, a panel of theological, social and economic justice experts, and resource tables.
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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