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From the Director: Prayers for Peace in Ukraine and Being Points of Light

Dear Friend,

We enter Lent this year with a heavy heart, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine troubles us profoundly. Let us join Pope Francis’ appeal “to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.” 

This week, the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also provided us unsettling news. St. John Paul II’s words aptly apply here. World peace is threatened “by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life." 

It may be difficult to remain hopeful, but the traditions of our Church have been sources of light and strength through 2000 years of war and peace, and remain so today.   

Many prayers and words of hope have been given to me and others already. Last week, Sr. Mary exhorted those of us blessed to be in a Living Room Conversation with her to keep moving forward, holding each other up through the grace of God. She admonished, allow no one to dampen our spirits, for that is not of the Holy Spirit. Rather we are all points of light, shining together in this universal, Catholic moment. 

As Ash Wednesday approaches, commencing this Season of Lent, let us be light and also heed Pope Francis’ call to unite in a supplication for peace with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

Our young people are leading the way in being bright points. Did you hear our young Covenant colleagues Emily Burke and Henry Glynn had the opportunity to share with Pope Francis their own exhortations and prophetic witness for our Church to care for creation, with authenticity. And Anna Robertson, our Director of Young Adult Mobilization, is helping us contemplate how to live in harmony with the limits that love requires – of a smaller footprint on the earth and a larger one for love and action for the common good.  

So even though we may face difficult times, let us continue to find the Holy Spirit in each another, and to pray, fast, and give - ever more so this Lenten Season, that we may be instruments of God’s peace, shining divine love and light when it’s most needed I hope you will join us. Our world urgently needs you.  


Jose Aguto   
Executive Director   
Catholic Climate Covenant


Catholic Climate Covenant Updates

Action of the Month: Ukrainians need our help

Already, more than 2.9 million people need assistance in Ukraine, according to Catholic Relief Services, and there is grave risk of additional suffering for refugees fleeing to safety in neighboring countries. CRS and Caritas partners on the ground across Ukraine and in bordering countries, ready to provide safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, fuel to keep warm, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more. Donate to CRS and help affected Ukrainian families via this link.  

New Funding available for Small Grants!   

For the second year in a row, Catholic Climate Covenant is blessed to offer grants to Catholic groups for creation care. The 2022 Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants Program will offer $75,000 in small grants to support projects, programs and events across the U.S. Catholic communities that advance the spirit of Laudato Si’ and promote diocesan and parish creation care activity as part of the synodal process. Grants for 2022 will be available up to a maximum of $1,000 for U.S. Catholic parishes, schools, dioceses, and other U.S. Catholic organizations. The application deadline to apply is May 2nd, 2022.  

 The 2022 Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants program will prioritize grant applications that:    

  • Make a connection to the seven goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. 

  • Boost the ability of Catholic organizations and institutions to engage and participate in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.  

  • Help lift creation care issues within the Synod on Synodality process. 

New Events Calendar from God’s Plan(et)!  

We’re excited to share that our God’s Plan(et) website now has an Events Calendar, where you will find updates from Catholic Climate Covenant and our partners in parishes, youth groups, dioceses and creation care teams. Catch the latest information on teachings, engagement, outreach, programs, education, activities and activism. And feel free to submit your own events to share with others!  

Here are two events coming up: 

  • Using Citizen Science Tools as a Family-Friendly Way to Explore God's Gift of Creation On March 22 at 7,  St. Mark in Vienna, Virginia will host speakers from National Geographic Society and Mountain to Sea Education to share their joy of connecting people to nature and discuss ways students, families, and their communities can see which plants and animals share our environment. Two apps that help young (and old) explorers identify species in their own backyards will be demonstrated. The webinar will prepare our families to participate as Citizen Scientists in the upcoming DC City Nature Challenge April 29 to May 2. RSVP: 

  • The Care for Creation Ministry of the Franciscan Renewal Center in  Scottsdale, Arizona, is holding an “Unlocking the Key to Laudato Si’” Film Festival and Art Show at the Casa on April 9. Four feature length films that have received dozens of film festival awards and recognition globally, plus a variety of shorts will be presented throughout the day. Please use this link to register through the Casa’s programs website page:  A grant received from the Victory Noll Sisters Small Grants Program and Catholic Climate Covenant is paying part of the costs for this event. 

Catholic Climate Covenant Young Adult leaders Zoom with Pope Francis  

Catholic Climate Covenant is excited to share that our social media manager, Emily Burke, and advocacy intern, Henry Glynn, spoke directly with Pope Francis at a virtual synod of college students on February 24. Hosted by Loyola University Chicago, “Building Bridges North-South: A Synodal Encounter Between Pope Francis and University Students,” was an hour-long conversation about migration, climate change and young people. Emily and Henry were elected by the other members of their working group to represent the Central U.S./Canada.  

"It’s been a gift to be a part of this working group of young Catholics in our region,” Emily said. “We’ve shared experiences, priorities, and anxieties related to the issue of migration and its root causes. These conversations aren’t easy, of course, but they’re important.” To learn more about the event and watch a recording of the conversation, visit  

Also, check out a story about the students' gathering with Pope Francis in Earthbeat here.

Creation Care Retreat for Young Adults in Chicago!  

Young adults (18-39) in the Chicago area are invited to join the Archdiocese of Chicago and Catholic Climate Covenant for a retreat April 29– May 1, focusing on integral ecology and creation care. Retreatants will learn about the Archdiocese’s efforts to implement the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and how they can be involved. Register by March 13. Learn more via this link  

More Creation Care News

Filipino Catholic Bishops call for divestment from fossil fuels  

The bishops of the Philippines have urged the church to refuse donations with ties to fossil fuels and extractive industries in what National Catholic Reporter calls “one of the strongest declarations on climate change to date from the Catholic Church.”  

"The cries of the earth and the poor have only grown louder in recent years due to the economic, environmental, and social losses and damages inflicted by both crises" of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, "which were created from exploitative human activities," said the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. Home to nearly 110 million people, the Philippines is at risk to climate-related storms, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. The capital of Manila is one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world. 

Pope Francis: Throwing plastic into the sea is ‘criminal’  

Pope Francis called throwing plastic in the sea "criminal,” adding that “it kills biodiversity, it kills the Earth, it kills everything." The papal rebuke echoed remarks Francis made last July, when he urged all people to "take care of the health of the sea: no plastic in the sea!" According to the United Nations, more than 8 million tons of plastic are discarded into the ocean each year. 

Watch: Solving global challenges by building communities  

The Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, hosted a webinar with Kyle Ballarta, CEO and founder of Falkon Ventures and a sustainable finance coordinator for Pope Francis' Economy of Francesco that produced economic proposals for the Holy See. Kyle spoke about building communities to solve big problems and shared his experiences working with the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on a number of initiatives such as the Laudato Si Challenge and Humanity 2.0. 

News from Catholic Energies:  

Catholic Energies, a solar development service of Catholic Climate Covenant, has lots of news to report.

  • They are developing projects in Illinois, including at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows campus in Belleville, Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, multiple parish properties across the Catholic Diocese of Joliet and Loyola University in Chicago.  
  • Catholic Energies will start construction soon for the provincial headquarters of the Salesians of Don Bosco and their Marian Shrine campus in New York.  
  • Catholic Energies will soon complete its tenth project in the Diocese of Richmond with installations at their Pastoral Center, Sacred Heart school, and St. Pius X Church. Three parish and school projects were also completed for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.  
  • In Texas, Catholic Energies completed projects at the Motherhouse for the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate and their center for youth-in-crisis. Catholic Energies also completed the ground array for the Sisters of the Presentation in New York, who created a charming video of their installation.  

Job Alert!  

Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light in Washington state is seeking an executive director. Find out more about the job opportunity: 

Get moving for climate advocacy!  

Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit focused on organizing faith communities on climate change issues, is holding a month-long “Climate Advocacy Bike & Hike.” Launching on May 1 and continuing through the month, the adventure includes a biking trek of 100 miles or hiking 50 miles through Central Pennsylvania. To learn more, contact PIPL: 

News from our Interdiocesan Creation Care Network 

The Care for Creation team in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is collaborating with the Sustainable Communities Partnership at the University of Saint Thomas, asking students to help write and conduct a climate anxiety survey, in an effort to learn more about how young people feel as they work to care for creation.  

The Archdiocese of Atlanta is sending copies of its Laudato Si’ Action Plan to all churches and schools, and Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer has praised the work of the activists behind the plan and pledged financial and staff resources for the Atlanta Laudato Si’ Initiative.   

Twelve parishes and schools are enrolling in the Laudato Si Initiative this year, bringing the total to 36 parishes who pledge to reduce energy use by 25%, water use by 25% and landfill waste by 50%. 

In the Diocese of Syracuse, seven parishes have started Creation Care teams with more to follow, and organizers are planning to hold multiple Blessings of the Seeds ceremonies throughout the diocese on Arbor Day.

In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, an advertising blitz will share an Earth Day web page with Catholic K-12 schools. The page contains resources for students, parish religious education programs and families. They are also planning their first young adult event in coordination with the archdiocesan office of youth and young adult ministry.  

The Arlington Diocese, Virginia hosted Anthony Granado, vice president of government relations at Catholic Charities USA to discuss how the climate crisis is affecting the poor. Diocesan staff will host their annual conference on Saturday March 12, with our own Dan Misleh as the keynote speaker following the 5pm ET Mass, to be celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.  

Five parishes in the Arlington Diocese are hosting webinars pertinent to Caring for Creation. See here for the recording of the opening webinar, “Why Catholics Care for Creation.” It sets the theological tone and explains how our Catholic teaching is integral to our duty to care for the created world. Five webinars offering practical advice will be offered throughout the spring of 2022. Details and RSVPs here

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Creation Care Ministry in High Point, North Carolina, is collecting plastic lids and caps from food containers, household items, and health/beauty products for the Lids2Benches Project, which will recycle the plastic into park benches for communities in Winston-Salem. For the Lenten season CCM is encouraging parishioners to participate in Greener Lent, with days of abstinence from meat. 

The Diocese of San Diego is working with Bishop Robert W. McElroy to hire a full-time Director for the Creation Care Ministry. Bishop McElroy has also endorsed the creation care team’s climate action plan, which offers certificates for advocacy and action by individuals, parishes and civic communities.  

The Archdiocese of Chicago is accompanying more than 30 parishes in their Laudato Si Action Plan enrollment process, and created a related committee to provide parishes resources, skills and experiences that will deepen the Christology in the implementation of parish LSAP teams, lift up the creation narrative in the Catholic liturgy, foster a spiritual and ecological conversion and integrate the teachings of Laudato Si’ into the Eucharistic Revival. 

Archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore 

Parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington are taking part in a program hosted by the National Wildlife Federation called "Sacred Grounds Maryland," which focuses on planting native species of perennials to reduce runoff, improve water quality in the local watershed and provide habitat for pollinators. Plants will be provided by a Chesapeake Bay Trust National grant from the Wildlife Federation and other sources.  

In a separate program, the Archdiocese of Washington’s Care of Creation Committee plans to plant trees church properties this spring and fall, creatively calling their effort "Laudato Trees."   

Maryland Catholics for Our Common Home, a lay-led group spanning the Archdiocese of Washington, Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Catholic parishes in Maryland in the Diocese of Wilmington, mounted a campaign to support environmental legislation in the Maryland legislature that is responsive to the teaching in Laudato Si'.  

On March 9, Maryland Catholic Conference will hold a virtual town hall headlined by Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory, titled "Care for Our Common Home: Environmental Responsibility in Maryland."  The event will include panel conversations with members of the state legislature and experts to educate Maryland Catholics on the Church's stands on environmental issues. 

On March 12, the Archdiocese of Boston, Diocese of Worcester and Boston Catholic Climate Movement will hold a webinar to introduce the Laudato Si’ Action Platform to Massachusetts Catholics. “God’s Plan(et): Heal our Common Home and Respond to the Cry of the Poor,” will be held March 12 from 11-12:30. For details and to register:

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Washington University is installing Air Quality monitors in 14 urban churches, including five Catholic parishes. And twenty members of Our Lady of Sorrows parish participated in Just Faith’s “Sacred Air and Energy” program, which explores the impact of the climate crisis and equips people of faith to respond. 

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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