From the Director: Catalyzing action and building intergenerational bridges
Last month I was blessed to attend and participate in the first gathering of 23 Common Home Corps (CHC) leaders that was led by Diana Marin, our Young Adult Mobilizer, graciously hosted by Dean Nancy Tuchman, Prof. Michael Murphy, and Katherine Arnold of Loyola University Chicago, and expertly instructed by inspirational Loyola faculty, Dan DiLeo of Creighton University, and Emily Burke, who when at Creighton led the students’ successful divestment campaign.
As Diana describes, the CHC leaders are youth ministers, atmospheric scientists, college students, theologians, sustainability coordinators, environmental justice advocates, urban planners, visual artists and so much more. Over half of them come from low-income and people of color communities, and communities directly impacted by environmental contamination and climate change. The CHC leaders have rich and complex faith lives which inspire them to be changemakers for ecological conversion. And they see the Catholic Church as an integral partner to this work, as a site of hope and incredible possibility.
The CHC program empowers young adults to catalyze climate action in their diocese by building Pope Francis’s culture of encounter, by organizing local Catholics, young and old to meet with their bishop to encourage their embrace of Pope Francis’ call to care for creation as an integral dimension of our faith.
The CHC gathering was a one-of-kind event, of prayer, theology, poetry, community, co-creation, and very tangible direction, which the leaders say gave them inspiration, motivation, fellowship, courage, and clear instructions to go forth in missionary discipleship. Together we have planted seeds in rich soil, the nurturing and flourishing of which will be manifold, and which we pray will be of delight and joy to you, our neighbors, and our Lord.
Finally, of the many aspirations of this gathering of bridging intergenerational divides, was benefiting from the experience and wisdom of all regardless the length of our journeys. On this heartening note of learning from each other, we are inspired at the Covenant to honor and serve you even more. So many of you, co-creators and supporters of our shared calling and mission, have persisted, suffered, and endured for so many years with grace, charity, patience, and love. We are humbled by your service to our Church and our Lord. We are privileged to help build bridges with and for you, across the generations of the faithful, in service of our vulnerable neighbors, the Earth which sustains us, and Our Creator. Thank you for inspiring us. May the Light of the Holy Spirit shine upon our path, as we walk together for our common home.
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant Updates
ACTION OF THE MONTH
Keep attending this Summer’s virtual LSUS conference!
The 2023 Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church conference has been a great success so far, with nearly 2,900 people registered and attending the various sessions! Please join us! The biennial conference series is co-sponsored by Creighton University and Catholic Climate Covenant.
In the conference’s keynote opening on June 14, Christiana Figueres, the United Nations official who brokered the Paris Agreement, urged us to find ways to invite more people, Catholic and otherwise, to respond to the climate crisis.
We will continue the LSUS conference next week with a session on “Ecological Education" on July 11th, and a session on “Ecological Spirituality" on July 13th (all sessions begin at 7pm Central). The virtual sessions continue throughout the month, with an awards ceremony celebrating Catholic environmental champions closing us out on July 27th!
Can’t attend all the sessions? No worries! You can still register for free, and you will receive a link for access to all the sessions -- you choose which sessions to attend. If you miss any sessions a recording will be sent to you.
Here is the full schedule of the LSUS Conference, which this year aims to provide practical guidance and training on each of Laudato Si’ Action Platform’s seven goals. Each session focuses on one of the goals and feature scholars who describe the theological underpinnings of the goal, followed by practitioners who discuss their work to achieve the goal, and a moderated Q&A. The sessions are in English with available Spanish interpretation.
Thanks to all who are participating!
Wholemakers Facilitator Training
Join a Facilitator Training webinar on July 26th to learn best practices for promoting and facilitating Wholemakers, a new integral ecology resource for young adults. Trainings are one hour and will be held throughout the summer. Learn more here: https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/wholemakers
Common Home Corps Seeks Spiritual Director
Common Home Corps, a year-long leadership and spiritual formation program in faith-based climate action, is searching for 3-5 spiritual directors to accompany young adults. Read more here.
Check out our new ecology curriculum for young adults
We are pleased to share that Wholemakers, our new ecology curriculum for young adults, has been downloaded by more than 500 folks. You can be one of them!
Wholemakers is a 10-session curriculum on integral ecology for use in young adult ministry. Created by and for young adults, it weaves together climate science with insights from Catholic tradition, and can be used in high schools, college campuses, and small groups.
It was created and vetted by a consortium of young adults, theologians, and experts from Catholic Climate Covenant, Maryknoll, and the USCCB among other institutions. It was piloted and refined in 13 communities including the University of Notre Dame, the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese Care for Creation Team, and the Academy of Our Lady High School in Los Angeles.
Encounter, our national campaign for climate solutions, is growing
Encounter for Our Common Home is an ongoing national campaign that brings together Catholics across the country to urge our U.S. Senators to enact authentic solutions to the climate crisis. These virtual and in-person encounters with our Senators come from the foundation of our Catholic faith and in accordance with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
JOIN THE ENCOUNTER CAMPAIGN!
We are a coalition of U.S. Catholic groups working together for our Common Home, and Encounter leaders continue to emerge and help lead us. Join Catholic Climate Covenant and our U.S. Catholic partners for this national campaign for climate solutions. This is an advocacy effort in concert with the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP) activities in the United States.
Catholic Climate Covenant in the news
At Catholic climate conference, Paris Agreement architect challenges US church to commit to net-zero emissions: National Catholic Reporter covered the beginning of the "Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church,” conference co-hosted by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University.
As NCR reports, Christiana Figueres called Pope Francis’ encyclical a historical marker in the 2,000-year-history of the Roman Catholic Church and challenged the church to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
The keynote conversation with Figueres was the first of nine virtual evening discussions of the "Laudato Si' and U.S. Catholic Church" conference that will take place over the next seven weeks. Past sessions are accessible on the Catholic Climate Covenant YouTube channel.
Catholics in the United States back actions to reduce the impacts of climate change, but are also more supportive of expanding coal mining, fracking and offshore drilling than other Americans, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.
Less than a third of Americans support a full phaseout of fossil fuels; 35% said the country should never stop using fossil fuels. Three in four Catholics said the country should use a mix of renewables and fossil fuels, compared to two-thirds of U.S. adults overall.
Jose Aguto, executive director of Catholic Climate Covenant, said he was surprised to see Catholics in the survey favoring fossil fuel expansion more than the general population. He told EarthBeat it highlighted the need for increasing ecological education — another of the Laudato Si' Action Platform's goals — especially around the harmful impacts to health and ecosystems from fossil fuel extraction and its byproducts, whether mercury pollution, PFAS or "forever chemicals," or methane leaks.
"We need to do a better job of educating on why expansion of these particular energy sources isn't that great for us," Aguto said.
Join the movement to refuse single-use plastics with Plastic Free Ecochallenge! Here
Plastic Free Ecochallenge is a month-long effort to shift away from our single-use plastic dependency while prioritizing public health and safety as much as possible during this pandemic. Find creative and innovative ways to reduce your single-use plastic consumption.
Irish bishops have asked the country’s 1,365 parishes to set aside 30% of their grounds for pollinators and biodiversity by 2030 so the land can be enjoyed "in perpetuity by the whole community," NCR reports. The initiative has the potential to make a difference to local biodiversity as well as create awareness of global conservation efforts. The initiative is a response to Pope Francis' 2015 encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," the impending loss of biodiversity and agreements made at COP15 in Montreal in December 2022.
The University of Scranton has begun a seven-year journey to become designated as a Laudato Si’ University by the Vatican, joining Catholic and non-Catholic colleges around the world who have committed to develop, implement and evaluate initiatives around seven goals to meet the Pope’s call for integral ecology.
To be designated as a Laudato Si University, colleges must evaluate current environmental and sustainability programs, then improve and develop further initiatives to address seven goals outlined by the Pope. The goals to be addressed are: to respond to the cries of the Earth; to respond to the call of the poor; to apply ecological economics; to adopt sustainable lifestyles; to implement ecological education programs; to develop ecological spirituality efforts; and to develop programs to address community resilience and empowerment.
Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles became the first school in history to win back-to-back championships in all three major categories for the Campus Race to Zero Waste, a waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities. LMU has won five national championships since the first in 2001.
Three members of Boston College High School’s Class of 2024 collaborated to form the Laudato Si’ Initiative of Boston College High School. Over the course of six months, the team compiled interviews, invoices, data, and internal reports into a single environmental audit to present an overview of the school’s ecological impact, from electricity use to the quantity of plastic recycled.
Nationally, churches install an outsized share of the solar market — houses of worship host a solar array at three times the rate of other non-residential buildings, according to a report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Across the country, nearly 2 percent of congregational buildings have installed a solar energy system. But in the Appalachian region where coal has permeated identity for over a century, churches are slower to buy in, according to this Sojourners article in National Catholic Reporter.
Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, is funding sustainability education and programs around the world. Projects include supporting farmers in Nigeria; training students in solar installation in Tanzania and funding solar Panels for Salesian chapels in Peru.
Moisés Vega has a distinctive job: The 64-year-old Mexican says he can speak the sacred language of volcanoes. There is no English translation for his profession, but among the inhabitants of the towns of central Mexico, men like him are called graniceros. "Their work is based on the pre-Hispanic notion of conciliation with nature," said one archaeologist. "They are regulators of the weather." Many locals believe that only men who are struck by lightning and survive can claim the job.
The Church of England has announced it will stop investing in Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and other top oil and gas companies after concluding all are out of step with worldwide efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.The divestment declaration pertains to both the Church of England's $13.1 billion endowment and $4.1 billion pension board.
On World Refugee Day on June 20, Jesuit Refugee Service urged increased support for migrants, warning that Sudan risked becoming yet another forgotten crisis. The war in Sudan has displaced 1.4 million people within the country; more than 470,000 have fled to other countries. The Catholic Church celebrates World Day of Migrants and Refugees on the last Saturday of September, but each June 20, the world celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home due to conflict or persecution.
Interdiocesan Creation Care Network
St. Charles Borromeo’s Care for Earth Ministry in the Metuchen Diocese of New Jersey hosted Change for Global Change: a vegan potluck and a presentation marking World Environment Day (June 5) and Laudato Si’ week (May 21-28). The presentation centered on the important work of Change for Global Change, a non-profit organization established by the Sisters of Saint Joseph that works to address the global water crisis. With a volunteer board and contributed services, nearly 100% of money donated goes directly as grant awards.
The Care for Creation Team Serving the Archdiocese of Saint Paul/Minneapolis is offering mentorship for parishes around the state who want to build Care for Creation teams.
The Archdiocese has also been selected to do a Net Zero Pathways grant program with its Catholic Community Foundation through the Catholic Climate Covenant. They will develop a net-zero pathway for each of the 4 parishes who are accepted into the program. The grant program will collaborate with EnerChange, which is a local nonprofit assisting other nonprofits with energy efficiency improvements.
The Lacordaire Academy is creating a garden to serve as an outdoor classroom where students can sit, work and learn how to be good stewards of our planet. With funding from the Victory Noll Small Grant Program, the Catholic school in Upper Montclair, New Jersey purchased a flowering tree and perennial plants to reduce levels of carbon dioxide, provide habitat for birds, attract pollinators and provide shade. This fall, faculty will begin hosting a bimonthly garden club for students and parents.
Well, done 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 20 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.
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