A Special NOTE: We had a very busy month and there is much news to report and hope to offer you, our loyal supporters. As a result, this newsletter is particularly lengthy, but we hope it offers many new resources and ideas as you work to Care for Our Common Home.
As we enter the fourth month of this global pandemic, we remain unsure of what the future holds. In the span of weeks, our nation and our lives have changed dramatically, and over 100,000 souls have perished. Incredibly, that is not the headline news these days, but rather national unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis is among the leaders calling the incident deeply disturbing, and offering prayers for the grieving family and friends, and peace for a hurting community and nation.
We join in this prayer and we also continue to pray that you and your loved ones are doing well and taking care of yourselves as best as possible. These are indeed difficult days, and in the throes of Covid-19, we may ask ourselves what is essential. We can think of essential workers and essential needs. If we are blessed enough to have health, a job and food on the table, we remain grateful, but we still seek direction.
Our recent global celebration of Laudato Si’ Week – which has now been extended to a year – reminds us we have Jesus and our faith leading the way. In fact, our Catholic faith is also essential. And caring for creation remains as essential as life itself, because it is life and it sustains life. Together we are asked to not be afraid, but to build a post-Covid world of solidarity and sustainability, fueled by love and hope.
As we launch our mid-year appeal for support, we will hear from Catholic leaders on how Laudato Si’ speaks to us at this crucial time. Thank you for your faith, your support, and your prayers. Know that we hold you as essential, too, as we keep you and your loved ones in prayer during this unprecedented time. All will be well again, but we must do our part.
Dan Dan Misleh Founding Executive Director Catholic Climate Covenant
Action of the Month
Support Our June Appeal During the month of June, we appeal to all our supporters for donations to help us keep the work of climate education and advocacy going. In the midst of this global pandemic with all of its pain and suffering, and its acceleration of an economic crisis, we are also provided a moment of introspection unlike anything in memory. Now more than ever, we must rely on our Catholic values and envision a post-Covid world of solidarity and sustainability. Will you help us at this crucial time to build a world of hope and love for God’s creation and our brothers and sisters?
Hope for Creation As the Vatican has announced a year-long celebration of Laudato Si’ (see below), Catholic Climate Covenant continues its Hope for Creation virtual initiative to invite prayers, meditations, stories, essays, statements, reflections, art, poems, songs, photos, videos, etc.tocelebrate creation, each other, and hope in these uncertain times. Your submission will be exhibited here, and (with permission) used in social media, especially through the Season of Creation (Sept. 1st-October 4th). Students are especially encouraged to participate! Please share the Hope for Creation initiative with your friends, school, or parish, which we are extending throughout Laudato Si’ Year (through May 24, 2021).
Catholic Energies Newsletter To keep the Catholic community updated and informed about all the Catholic organizations going solar, Catholic Energies is pleased to provide their second quarterly newsletter of 2020. Among the news highlighted is that Catholic Energies will have a very busy few months, with six more projects scheduled to be completed this summer in the Diocese of Richmond alone. Read the latest here.
Catholic Climate Covenant in the News National Catholic Reporter’s story Five years ago, Pope Francis asked us to care for Earth. Have we listened?, mentions two Covenant programs that have helped move the U.S. Church to rise to the challenges outlined in Laudato Si’: Catholic Climate Covenant’s biennial conferences at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, that help “weave a green thread” into the fabric of the Church; and Catholic Energies which develops solar and renewable energy projects for Catholic institutions. Since it formed in fall 2017, Catholic Energies has completed 10 projects in five states, with another 12 set for construction this year.
Covenant’s May Webinar: Covid-19's Impacts on God's Creation and Vulnerable Communities Catholic Climate Covenant hosted a special webinar on Thursday, May 28th: Covid-19's Impacts on God's Creation and Vulnerable Communities. Presenters Fr. Sean McDonagh, a priest of the Missionary Society of St. Columban and the Society's researcher for Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation, and Dr. Sacoby Wilson, Director, Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland-College Park, discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic has enormous impacts and implications on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, and what the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us about our treatment of God's creation.
Be on the lookout for our next webinar in June! When you register you get a link to the recording.
Laudato Si’ Week Sustainability Webinar If you missed it, be sure to watch the Laudato Si' Week Webinar “Sustainability: Time for the Church to Lead by Example” which included Catholic Climate Covenant’s Executive Director, Dan Misleh, speaking about how U.S. churches are leading the way in renewable energy by partnering with our Catholic Energies program. Keynote speaker Yeb Saño, Climate activist and Executive Director of Greenpeace East Asia spoke of how the church, inspired by the encyclical, is uniquely positioned to build a better world together.
Georgetown’s Laudato Sí' After Five Years Dialogue In a highly praised event, Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, in cooperation with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, hosted Laudato Sí' After Five Years: Hearing the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor, an online dialogue on the powerful message, continuing importance, and future implications of Laudato Sí' on May 29, 2020.
Speakers included Cardinal Peter Turkson; Catholic Climate Covenant’s Executive Director, Dan Misleh; Kim Wasserman, Executive Director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in Chicago, Illinois; and Christiana Zenner, associate professor of theology, science, and ethics in the department of theology at Fordham University. Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative, moderated the powerful conversation on the encyclical’s core messages, continuing importance, and future implications.
U.S. Bishops’ Roundtable on Laudato Si’ View the full video from a live roundtable conversation between Archbishop Coakley, Bishop McElroy, and Bishop Barron reflecting on the 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si’ that was held virtually on Wednesday, May 20th. Marianne Comfort, justice coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy and a member of the Covenant Steering Committee, facilitated the dialogue that reflected on embracing of the urgency of climate change.
Each bishop offered different perspectives: Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City said our response to Laudato Si’ is a work in progress. Bishop Barron of Los Angeles noted that the fires and droughts common to California have been one motivating factor of the work in his archdiocese to implement the encyclical. Bishop McElroy of San Diego said that what is needed is a greater level of true ecological conversion because the issue of climate change is so urgent, and the world has a very short time frame to work turn this around.
Laudato Si' Special Anniversary Year The Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has announced a Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year from May 24th, 2020 – May 24th, 2021. The anniversary year began at the end of Laudato Si’ Week 2020, and will proceed with several initiatives, realized in phases and built on partnerships with a clear emphasis on “ecological conversion” through “action”. Responses at all levels - local, regional, national and international – will be encouraged through the engagement of families, parishes, dioceses and community groups. Please visit Covenant’s Laudato Si’ 2020 resource page to view the Vatican's Laudato Si’ 2020 program.
Below are links to Spanish and English print and web versions, which could be distributed in your parish or other institutions.
Michigan Catholic Conference publishes FOCUS document, resources to Highlight Laudato Si’ To encourage study of and reflection on Laudato Si’, and to help bring the Holy Father’s teaching to a wide range of Catholics and others, Michigan Catholic Conference has developed new resources and materials. Its latest FOCUS publication is dedicated to care for creation and titled, Care for Our Common Home: Reflecting on Laudato Si’. Accompanying the publication’s release is a webpage that includes resources and ideas to help individuals and institutions absorb the encyclical’s themes. The webpage highlights local examples of how Michigan Catholics have participated in living out Laudato Si’ and the Church’s wider teaching to care for creation.
Catholic Letter to Congress More than 100 Catholic organizations, spearheaded by religious orders, sent a letter to Congress calling attention to the needs of low-income communities and those of color amid the global pandemic. Signatories to the letter asked that government resources and responses should be dedicated help African Americans, Latinos, and tribal nations who are at far greater risk of air and water pollution. The letter calls for a nationwide moratorium on electricity, heat and water shut-offs during the pandemic, and increased funding for energy efficient programs that could benefit low-income households. Read more.
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas drafted and circulated the letter within the Catholic community. In addition to religious congregations, other groups that signed the letter included the Catholic Health Association of the United States, National Council of Catholic Women, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Association of United States Catholic Priests, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Franciscan Action Network, Pax Christi USA, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, Global Catholic Climate Movement and Network, the Catholic social justice lobbying group.
Briefs on Faithful Voting and Global Concerns The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns has issued a series of two-page briefs, Faithful Voting and Global Concerns, which address key global issues for voters to consider for the 2020 U.S. elections. Inspired by the gospel and Maryknoll missioners’ commitment to stand with vulnerable communities around the world, they urge U.S. citizens to consider the issues including climate change and care for creation, and vote to advance the cause of peace, social justice, and the integrity of creation.
Watch Recording of Archdiocese of Washington Symposium As part of the global Laudato Si’ Week, the Archdiocese of Washington held a Virtual Symposium on May 21, headlined by Archbishop Gregory, on his first-year anniversary as Archbishop of Washington. The Symposium featured pointed and inspiring video testimony from a diversity of Catholics in our area. They emphasized the importance of Laudato Si' to the challenges we face, not only because of environmental degradation and climate change, but also due to the COVID pandemic. The Symposium was organized by the Office of Social Concerns of the Archdiocese.
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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