From the Founder: Ending our senseless war on creation
War is a terrible thing. It creates so many victims. Soldiers and civilians, to be sure, but also local ecosystems. Death and destruction. Crumbled buildings and compromised infrastructure. Physical and emotional trauma.
It is striking then that Pope Francis is using the phrase, “a senseless war of creation” around the release of his new Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum. I can’t help but focus on the word “senseless.” It reminds me of my younger years when my still-developing prefrontal cortex prevented me from doing things that put myself and others in danger. I had no sense.
We have full knowledge that the continued burning of fossil fuels is putting life, all life–plants, animals, and humans–at risk of death and destruction, physical and emotional trauma. Recalling recent months of unrelenting heat, choking smoke, flash floods, and devastating droughts at home and abroad, we can see the results of our unrelenting war on creation.
Let us celebrate another inspiring teaching from Pope Francis tomorrow. But let us also allow his metaphor of this war on God’s good gift of creation settle into our hearts and break it open, finally driving us to redouble our individual and collective efforts to pray, learn and advocate for our common home.
Let us put down the armaments of fossil fuels, rampant consumption and consumerism, and apathy toward our human and non-human neighbors. We must do better and end this senseless war.
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant Updates
ACTION OF THE MONTH: Season of Creation Call to Action Continues
Catholic Climate Covenant, Laudato Si’ Movement, St.Columban Mission for Justice, Peace and Ecology, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Ignatian Solidarity Network, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Franciscan Action Network and Leadership Conference of Women Religious invite you to place climate justice for our vulnerable neighbors at the heart of our prayers, advocacy, and action during this 2023 Season of Creation.
Ask the Biden Administration to stop fossil fuel expansion and consider the forgiveness of debt of developing nations at COP 28. To further these goals, you can:
Organize a prayer service in an ecologically impacted place near you
Sign the forgiveness of debt letter (online) during the prayer service, or anytime during Season of Creation, and share it widely
Take a picture of the place and people gathered at the prayer service
Post your prayer service to social media tagging President Biden, Special Envoy Kerry, and Secretary Yellen (social media links and language here), and let them know we are #PrayingForYou to take strong action on fossil fuels and debt relief.
The “2023 SOC Advocacy Activity Guidelines” from Laudato Si’ Movement can support the Season of Creation Call to Action, as well as Covenant’s 2023 “Feast of St. Francis Program.”
Webinar Oct 5th: Join us to discuss Pope Francis’s new apostolic exhortation on the environment!
Join Catholic Climate Covenant and Laudato Si’ Movement-US on Thursday, October 5 at Noon (Eastern), to learn about and respond to Pope Francis’ highly anticipated Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum, which is scheduled to be released on October 4th. We’ll also pray for the current state of creation and all who work to protect our common home, and join the Catholic community in taking urgent actions!
This one-hour webinar will include presentations summarizing the main themes of the Apostolic Exhortation, and lift the voices of scientists, young people, and those most impacted by the ecological crisis.
Date: Thursday, October 5th 2023
Time: 12 pm (ET)/11am (CT), 10am (MT), 9:00am (PT)
The conversation will be recorded, and the recording will be sent to all who register. If you have questions, please contact Paz Artaza-Regan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Event: Wholemakers gathering Oct 12 co-hosted by Maryknoll and Covenant
Join us at an upcoming online gathering hosted collaboratively by Maryknoll and the Catholic Climate Covenant to discuss Wholemakers, a groundbreaking resource for young adults focused on creation care and integral ecology. Hear the story behind the creation of this curriculum and learn more about how to implement Wholemakers in your community.
The online gathering will be on Thursday October 12 at 5pm pt/7pm ct/ 8pm et; Register here.
Developed for young adults, by young adults, this resource weaves together the latest climate science with insights from the Catholic tradition to equip young adults to be the faithful protagonists of transformation the world needs.
This collaborative project is sponsored by Catholic Climate Covenant and Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, with contributions from the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth and the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, WA.
Advocacy: Support the Prove It Act
Mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions must be explored, especially because the poor and future generations will suffer the most harm. The Prove It Act (S-1863) is legislation that is the first step in a carbon border adjustment mechanism process that could provide a significant tool to encourage the lowering of carbon emissions by countries worldwide. The process basically puts a price on carbon for goods produced outside the U.S. -- an effective way to lower harmful emissions.
Learn more and support this important effort from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Prove It Act background and call to action here.
Resource: 2023 Feast of St. Francis Program available!
If you have not seen it yet, the 2023 Feast of St. Francis Program, “The Way of Francis: Seeking Peace and Justice for All of Creation,” is designed to assist you, your family, parish, school, diocese, religious community, or other Catholic institution learn about Catholic nonviolence and the "Franciscan" call to seek peace and justice for all of creation.
The 90-minute program enables U.S. Catholics to host in-person or virtual sessions to grow in their understanding and call to care for creation as integral to the Catholic faith through prayer, education and action. Sign up to receive the program today!
Board Spotlight: Sharon Lavigne
We're excited to kick off our Spotlight Series, highlighting the awesome individuals who help our organization run. We're beginning with our Board Members, the newest of which is the incredible Sharon Lavigne of RISE ST. JAMES! Read on to learn all about her and follow us on social media to see all the spotlights! Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn.
CCC in the News
Youth speak up and march
An estimated 75,000 demonstrators from 700 organizations and activist groups, including Catholic Climate Covenant, took to the streets of New York City on Sept. 17 in the March to End Fossil Fuels.
Before the march — and after a Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan — Catholic Climate Covenant's Youth Mobilization program held a press conference on the steps of St. Paul before marching with the Catholic contingent organized by Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/_ctP1Z-48tQ The event featured young Catholics who called for climate action and shared powerful personal testimonies. You can view more photos and video from the event on our Instagram page: @catholic.climate.covenant.
And please be sure to check out this powerful Instagram interview with Sharon Lavigne, President of the environmental justice group Rise St. James.
Hopes for Climate Ambition Summit
Catholic Climate Covenant leaders also shared their thoughts on the United Nations’ first-ever “Climate Ambition Summit” with OSV news.
“It is our hope that this Climate Ambition Summit generates a deeper appreciation for our climate predicament and that all leaders — business and political, secular and religious — feel and embrace the urgency of the climate crisis and provide hope for future generations,” said Dan Misleh, founder of Catholic Climate Covenant.
“As a country and as the largest faith community in the country, we have an obligation to do all we can to reduce our own carbon footprint through ambitious energy transition programs, examination of our carbon intensive lifestyles, and a recognition that we have the means, if not the will, to care for those who suffer the most from our neglect.”
A focus on debt relief
National Catholic Reporter covered Catholic Climate Covenant’s campaign to convince President Joe Biden to use debt relief as a means to "unlock critical funding" for countries most vulnerable to the impacts of a rapidly heating Earth.
The letter campaign, organized by Catholic Climate Covenant and joined by seven co-sponsors, asks that the United States forgive or significantly restructure debts it holds with other nations as a central piece of its international climate policy at the upcoming U.N. climate summit, COP28.
“For us to have a climate solution that is of scale and commensurate with the actual need, we really need to be ambitious and innovative in unlocking this kind of funding," Catholic Climate Covenant executive director Jose Aguto told NCR’s EarthBeat.
American Climate Corps announced
OSV news spoke to Kayla Jacobs, program manager of youth mobilization at Catholic Climate Covenant, about the Biden administration’s creation of a new American Climate Corps, which the White House described as a “workforce training and service initiative … for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy.”
“We know from experience working with youth in the faith and environment space that our efforts to address the climate crisis will go nowhere if the voices of young people, especially those from frontline communities, aren’t front and center,” Jacobs said.
Spanish-language address at Latin American church symposium
Paz Artaza-Regan, the Program Manager for Creation Care Teams at Catholic Climate Covenant made a short presentation at a Latin American Church Symposium focused on the transition to just energy. You can read her excellent presentation in English here: version
Great work, team!
Celebrating Laudate Deum - Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation out Oct 4th
Join Laudato Si' Movement for the event "Laudato Si', Part II': Celebrating Laudate Deum", Pope Francis' new Apostolic Exhortation, to be promulgated on Oct 4, the Feast of Saint Francis.
We are invited to participate in the online event Oct 4th at 2 pm Eastern, in which Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Johan Rockström of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Christiana Figueres of Outrage + Optimism and Bill McKibben of 350.org will share the most crucial messages of this second Magisterial document to focus on climate change and the care for our common home. We cannot wait!
Voices of Vision and Hope event October 7
Join a day of inquiry and dialogue on the state of our planet, offering possibilities for engagement inspired by the Laudato Si' Action Platform, and wisdom of Geologian Thomas Berry. Guests for this event are Brother Kevin Cawley, CFC, and Sister Kathleen Deignan, CND, leaders of the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit at Iona University in New Rochelle, NY.
The event is October 7th, live and streamed, with hospitality at 9 am and the program from 9:30 to 12:30, from the Redemptorist Provincial Residence, 3112 7th St NE, Washington DC 20017. RSVP to register for in-person or virtual attendance to FR. Francis Gargani, CSsR, email@example.com or 718-644-5127.
Laudato Si’ 7 Goals Faith Journey: A Zoom series
Our friends at Commissioned by Christ and Nativity Creation Care Ministry in the Diocese of Arlington, VA, warmly invite you to join a Zoom series on Laudato Si’ 7 Goals: Faith Journey.
This series would be of interest if you:
Are concerned about the environment, and looking for ways to help heal God’s beautiful Creation.
Want to learn more about Pope Francis’ invitation to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and its 7 Goals and are curious about what they can mean to you and your household.
Have been meaning to create your own Laudato Si’ Action Plan, but just haven’t started yet.
Join, and meet monthly by Zoom to pray, learn, discuss and take action as people of faith, in response to the environmental and social challenges of our time. The sessions will follow the LSAP worksheets available at: https://godsplanet.us/maryknoll-affiliates-lsap-goals-worksheets .
The session dates are on: October 11, November 8, December 6, January 10, February 7, March 6, April 3, May 1. All Zoom sessions are from 7:00 – 8:15 p.m et. Sign up or learn more by emailing CBCLaudatoSi@outlook.com
Grieving and Healing: Practices of Lament for Our Wounded Planet This day-long workshop will offer participants space to feel, articulate and honor grief for the harm done to Creation. Together they will explore the Christian practices of lament as well as Buddhist-influenced practices drawn from the Work That Reconnects, and secular ceremonies of marking loss. Register here: https://cranaleith.org/retreats-spiritual-programs/1111/grieving-and-healing-practices-of-lament-for-our-wounded-planet/
Eco-spirituality: Awaken to the Sacredness of the Earth The Green Team of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Church in Bridgewater, New Jersey will host an evening of prayer and reflection on October 4 to celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis and to mark the close of the Season of Creation. The guest speaker will be Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan, Pastor, Saint Joseph Church in Bound Brook, NJ.
Pope Francis sends message on migration
In Pope Francis' message this year for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Sept. 24), he said:
"Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one's native land is forcing millions of persons to leave. … Eliminating these causes and thus putting an end to forced migration calls for shared commitment on the part of all, in accordance with the responsibilities of each."
A greener Synod
With more than 450 people gathering at the Vatican for a meeting Oct. 4-29, the General Secretariat of the Synod said it is taking action to reduce the environmental impact of the synod assembly.
More than 50% of the assembly's calculated carbon footprint will come from long-distance travel, and the Vatican has secured financial support from the Switzerland-based SOS Planet Foundation to generate offsetting carbon credits by sending efficient cooking stoves and water purification technologies to households, communities and institutions in Kenya and Nigeria.
Pope meets with former President Clinton
Kicking off a global meeting of leaders, Pope Francis told former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the global community to take action to ensure peace for future generations and stop climate change "before it's too late."
Opening the Clinton Global Initiative meeting of leaders in New York City Sept. 18, Clinton asked the pope, connected by video call, what ordinary people can do to address society's towering problems.
"Difficulties can bring out the best or the worst in us," the Pope said. "Therein lies our challenge: fighting selfishness, narcissism, division, with generosity and humility.
Louisiana leaders meet with Pope Francis
Two leaders of the Together Louisiana movement for social change met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, where they promoted the nonprofit’s Community Lighthouse program installing solar panels on churches and community centers.
“He gave us a big thumbs-up,” Sister Alicia Costa, superior of the Sisters of the Holy Family congregation in New Orleans, said after the meeting.
Together Louisiana includes more than 250 civic organizations and religious congregations.
Women leading in climate crisis
Ellen Bernstein writes in National Catholic Reporter about participating in Faith in Her, an international conference on women, faith and climate, organized by an interfaith coalition and convened by the Muslim World League. She writes that she was inspired by the opportunities that a conference oriented toward women can bring to the climate crisis.
New podcast from Atlanta
The Faith and Sustainability Podcast is coming October 4 from the Archdiocese of Atlanta's Laudato Si Initiative. Join Leonard Robinson, every week to explore how faith and sustainability connect. Guests will include environmental experts and influential faith leaders.
October is #ZeroWasteMonth
The global campaign Race to Zero Waste is launching their #ZeroWasteMonth this October, with the mission to accelerate the transition towards a zero waste world. Throughout the month, the group will host a series of live events and discussions on their YouTube channel, focusing on topics such as plastic pollution, reusable solutions, and equity within the zero waste movement.
Interdiocesan Creation Care Network & Creation Care Teams
The Diocese of Arlington in Virginia has put together a toolkit for directors of youth ministry to introduce the teachings of Laudato Si’. See the document here.
In the Atlanta Inter-archdiocesan Network, the Laudato Si’ Initiative team is implementing a communication plan that involves the development of a logo, improvement of the web site, a monthly newsletter and a podcast series. The Laudato Si team has also given presentations at conferences including, Georgia Climate Change, Georgia Environmental, and Georgia Recycling Coalition. In addition, Catholic Churches are participating in a community-based group-purchasing program for solar energy, battery storage and other clean-energy technologies.
In the Diocese of San Diego, the Creation Care Ministry is participating in a Trees to Food Distribution. Brother James Lockman, OFM, a restoration botanist, gathered around 100 acorns last year, kept them in his refrigerator for three months, planted them, and now has around 67 small trees, which were repotted for distribution at a Feast of St. Francis Tree Festival. At $10 a tree, they can make $670 to purchase recycled material, reusable bags for food distribution at one of our parish food pantries. Circular, sustainable economics!
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, the LSAP/Care for Creation Ministry and Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity reports from the Parliament of World Religions, where Chicagoland Christians United for the Care of Creation agreed to a Declaration for the Care of Creation. Most Reverend, Bishop Robert Casey, Vicar General in the Archdiocese of Chicago, was among the signatories, and Michael Terrien, Obl. OSB, Chair of EMC, Chicagoland Christians United for the Care of Creation, opened the ceremony. Posting of the Declaration for the Care of Creation, photos and a recording of the signing ceremony will be available at www.archchicago.org/creation
The Advocacy Committee of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Encyclical Working Group has been drafting a pastoral statement for the Catholic Conference of Illinois on water stewardship. The statement is grounded in Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, Laudato Si', and the work of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in Aqua fons Vitae.
The Social Justice Team at St. Cletus in St. Charles, MO, hosted a “Pope and Popcorn” night at the parish hall with earth-friendly snacks and a view of “The Letter,” a documentary that tells the story of a journey to Rome of frontline leaders to discuss the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ with Pope Francis.
And last but certainly not least, Father Emmet Farrell, director of creation care ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, has shared a video of his illuminating homily on our role as stewards of the Earth that God has given us to care for.
Well, done all!
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