From the Founder: Entering a New Season to Protect God's Creation
On many fronts, we are entering a new season, and I welcome it. Fall has been my favorite time of year for as long as I can remember. I am not a huge fan of the heat and humidity, so by mid-July I long for the crisp mornings and clear blue skies of autumn. Though the days get shorter, I feel more energetic.
This fall, I am also energized by the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act which is by far the most impressive federal effort tackling the climate crisis we have ever seen. We are turning a page in our work, as you can read in our latest blog following IRA’s passage, because there are huge incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and large sums of money to tackle environmental justice. Yes, there were some compromises in the legislation, but on the whole, this is very good news for our common home and our common work.
These new national commitments could not have come at a better time. Every day we are reminded just how much climate change is threatening our world. This summer was catastrophic with unprecedented floods in Jackson, MS, massive forest fires in the west, historic monsoons in Pakistan, and a terrible famine across eastern Africa. These disasters painfully demonstrate that we must take full advantage of all the opportunities--old and new--to reduce our carbon footprint and work for climate justice.
And as we enter another important season – the 2022 Season of Creation – we again urge you to do all you can to engage your local faith community, invite others into dialogue and action, and pray that we all awaken to the realization of our peril with a clear-eyed vision of what we can do to protect God's creation from our own folly.
There are many more glorious seasons ahead of us all if we try.
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Celebrate Season of Creation by Hosting a Feast of St. Francis Program
The theme for this year’s Feast of St. Francis is “Eco-Spirituality: Behold God in Everything.” The Feast of St. Francis program is a 90-minute educational program designed to assist you, your family, parish, school, diocese, religious community, or other Catholic institution to understand the concept of “eco-spirituality,” one of the seven goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
The program includes prayers, readings, a short video, music, discussion questions and suggested activities. It can be used as part of your Season of Creation events or at any time that fits your community’s schedule. The program this year includes an in-person version and an online/individual use version.
Blessing of the Animals: Don’t forget that we also have available the very popular Blessing of the Animals liturgy for your use! You may choose to hold the blessing on October 4th and then hold a separate 90-minute Feast of St. Francis program on a day of your choosing, or you can do both on the same day. You will need to speak to your pastor (or deacon/lay leader) about leading the Blessing of the Animals.
Join us for A Season of Creation Webinar: A Powerful Opportunity for the Faith Community
A Season of Creation Webinar
A Powerful Opportunity for the Faith Community:
Putting Our Faith into Action Through Renewable Energy Investments and Funding
Tuesday, September 13th | 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is now law, and it offers an unprecedented moment for climate and renewable energy investments and funding. Thanks to the work of thousands of U.S. Catholics who, through the Encounter for Our Common Home campaign, called on U.S. Members of Congress to support the IRA, we have a game-changing opportunity for U.S. Catholic facilities (and other non-profits) to be aware of and access a new financial landscape for solar and energy efficiency projects among other IRA programs. REGISTER
Jose Aguto, Executive Director, Catholic Climate Covenant Dan Misleh, Founder, Catholic Climate Covenant
Dan Last, Program Manager, Catholic Energies
New Resources to Listen to the Voice of Creation this Season of Creation!
The theme for this year's Season of Creation, which began on September 1 and ends October 4 with the Feast of St. Francis, is "Listen to the Voice of Creation." As Pope Francis said in his message for this year’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation: “If we learn how to listen, we can hear in the voice of creation a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home.”
The Season of Creation is so special because it is a time to listen and renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment. May we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home – truly hearing the cry and glory of creation and acting in faith to protect and love it.
Catholic Climate Covenant has compiled 2022 Season of Creation resources from our U.S. Catholic partners, as well as the main international Season of Creation partners.
Display a new Season of Creation liturgical banner in your parish!
Catholic Climate Covenant and Laudato Si' Movement in the U.S. have partnered to offer the Season of Creation liturgical banner to dioceses, parishes, universities, schools, groups, and any community of faith that wishes to spread awareness of the Season of Creation. The banner, which features St. Francis with a dove, is 2x6 feet and available in English, Spanish and bilingual versions, and can be hung or displayed on a vertical stand.
The banner states Season of Creation is Sept. 1-Oct. 4th, and it can be used year after year. Learn more here.
Accompanying Bulletin to Liturgical Banner: If you order the banner for your community, we invite you to download and print copies of the accompanying flier that shares more information about Season of Creation (optional.) View flier here and export it as a PDF for printing.
A Catholic liturgical guide for the Season of Creation
This plentiful new guide offers resources for celebrating and worshiping during the Season of Creation, including penitential rites, prayers for the liturgy, scriptural reflections and more. Assembled by Jesuit Father James Hug, the resources can help you celebrate the Season of Creation with the seriousness and prayerfulness it needs and deserves; help you grow in gratitude for the gifts of creation; and inspire you to take part in the response of the Catholic community around the planet as it joins its ecumenical and interfaith partners. The guide is available in English and Spanish.
Season of Creation events near you and online
There are a host of Season of Creation events planned this year. Head over to the Events page on God’s Plan(et) to find one near you, as well as virtual events to join online.
One such event:
On September 17, the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, will host an exploration of Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si', with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, a keynote address by our founder, Dan Misleh, and a panel discussion with Catholic community leaders about how to heal and protect God's gift of all creation. The Mass will be livestreamed at this link. Register for the event today!
Catholic Climate Covenant blog examines IRA
Catholic Climate Covenant Policy Advisory Henry Glynn wrote a blog examining how the Inflation Reduction Act aligns with Catholic teaching.
"If you asked me earlier this summer about my level of hopefulness for significant climate action this year, my answer might have been dire, but my heart told me to keep the faith alive. And here we are – over the next decade, our nation’s climate investments will put the U.S. on a path to reduce emissions 40% below 2005 levels, effectively removing one billion metric tons of greenhouse emissions from the atmosphere. How did we get here? " Read the full blog here.
Join us for the Green Team Summit on the intersection of spirituality and climate
Catholic Climate Covenant is delighted to be an official partner of Faith in Place’s 2022 Green Team Summit. With the theme “Rooted Together,” this year’s Summit -- taking place September 11-14 -- will be a hybrid event, fully accessible virtually with local watch parties hosted in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The full Summit will include 6 sessions exploring the intersection of spirituality, the environment, and justice.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, chief climate scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a distinguished professor and chair at Texas Tech University. She can often be found talking to people about why climate change matters and what we can do to fix it! Check out the Summit Agenda and register for free today!
As Biden signs new climate change bill into law -- Catholics rejoice, and say more must be done
On August 16, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, the most significant climate bill in U.S. history. As our Executive Director Jose Aguto said, the new act “provides authentic hope for future generations, bringing our nation and world closer to emissions reduction goals, closer to each other, and closer to a better world.” We especially celebrate the work of thousands of U.S. Catholics who joined the Encounter for Our Common Home campaign. The faith community sounded a clear moral call to federal legislators to care for creation and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters across the country and the globe.
But, as Catholics across the country noted in important and timely opinion columns and letters to the editor, our work is far from over.
Writing in the West Virginian Times, Sister Kathleen Durkin praised the Inflation Reduction Act as “a great step toward a healthier and safer world.” But, she continues, “to more fully achieve that healthier future, we will need a deeper rebalancing: a greater sense of the common good.”
Ellen Fisher, a Catholic mother of three, working for the Catholic University of America – Tucson Program, writes in the Arizona Daily Star that drought, heat waves and wildfires have made climate disruption more painfully apparent to many in her state, where 17 people have suffered heat-related deaths. Fisher calls the Inflation Reduction Act a much-needed “shift in our energy, but we also need a shift in our values.” She continues, “We share a common home, and disruptions anywhere can reach all of us everywhere. This need not be a burden, but an opportunity to flourish together as one human family.”
And in Colorado, Sister Elizabeth Fuhr of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, commented in Colorado Online that “Individuals — you and I — have a two-pronged role in seeing the Inflation Reduction Act to its hoped-for conclusion. We must personally invest in new wind and solar technologies as they become available. And we must hold leaders accountable to the promises they made when they passed the bill.”
Thanks to all of these Catholics and the many more who shared their inspiring voices!
Bishops in Pakistan call for help amid deadly floods
Bishop Samson Shukardin has called for help for thousands left hungry and homeless by floods that have devastated Pakistan, saying that nearly 90% of his diocese is flooded due to heavy rain, according to Catholic News Service. The death toll has surpassed 1,000. Catholic Relief Services is providing emergency relief in response to the floods, which have displaced more than 2 million people. You can contribute to the relief effort here.
Pope Francis elevates American cardinal known for climate advocacy
Pope Francis presented Bishop Robert McElroy with his red hat on Aug. 27, elevating one of the top supporters of environmental issues, notes National Catholic Reporter. McElroy has been among the most outspoken in addressing climate change and environmental justice, but also transforming the encyclical's words into actions, NCR writes. The article also quotes our founder, Dan Misleh, who said "Among the bishops, he's one of our best leaders on Laudato Si'. He certainly has spoken a lot about it, but within the Diocese of San Diego they've also acted quite a bit on it."
More than half of parishes in San Diego have installed solar panels and the diocese recently joined the Vatican's Laudato Si' Action Platform initiative.
Meet the new the new director of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform
John Mundell, who the Vatican appointed as new director of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, was kind enough to talk with us about his hopes and plans for the Vatican-led campaign. The Indiana-born environmental engineer spoke about recruiting more people (including bishops and other diocesan leaders) to join the LSAP, how his Catholic faith guides his work and where he finds hope during these very difficult times. Read the interview here.
Sign up for daily Season of Creation reflections via email
The National Catholic Reporter has created “Season of Creation Daily,” which they describe as similar to a month-long retreat, with two-minute reflections delivered to your email in-box each day that are intended to help “pause, reflect and act with care for our common home.” You can subscribe on this page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Conflict and climate change is drying up the Jordan River
For centuries pilgrims visited the Jordan River to follow in Christ's footsteps, to touch the water where he was baptized. But an AP story reports that climate change and political conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians have made the river “more meager than mighty.” Faith activists say that the Lower Jordan River, which runs south from the Sea of Galilee, is particularly threatened by decades of water diversions for agriculture and domestic use and by pollution. Only a tiny fraction of its historical water flow now reaches its terminus in the Dead Sea, the AP reports.
Victory Noll Sisters celebrate 100 years of work and witness
Rooted in their charism to proclaim the Gospel in solidarity with all persons, especially those living in poverty and oppression, the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (also known as the Victory Noll Sisters) celebrated 100 years since their founding with a Mass, dinner and festivities on August 6. The sisters, who help seed the Covenant’s small grants program, are living examples of how to put our Catholic faith in action -- and we are ever-grateful for their inspiring work and witness. Here’s to 100 more years! Watch more about the sisters’ story in this video, “To the Poorest First: The Journey of the Victory Noll Sisters”
Sisters of Mercy’s Guide to Living Laudato Si’
The Sisters of Mercy have created a wonderful guide to the Laudato Si Action Platform's seven goals. This guide is useful for individuals, families, parishes, dioceses, religious orders, educational institutions, health care facilities, and organizations. The guide is available in English and Spanish. For more information and resources please visit the Sisters of Mercy’s “Laudato Si’ Action Plan: Ecological Education” website page for resources to assist you with taking these and other actions.
A lesson in recycling from students
Nativity Parish School in Kansas used a Victory Noll grant from Catholic Climate Covenant and from the city of Leawood to start a food composting program, saying they are “very excited to answer the call from Pope Francis in Laudato Si.’” They also made a video showing how to recycle common lunch items. Great job kids!
Scholar seeks climate justice organizers
A researcher in Environmental Studies at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University is seeking climate justice organizers for a study in which participants will record themselves having climate conversations with someone not currently involved in climate action. The total expected time commitment is 3 hours per participant, who will receive a $90 gift card or donation to an organization of their choice. This study is open to anyone who is at least 13 years old, lives in the U.S., and is involved in climate action. For more information email Julia Coombs Fine JFINE001@csbsju.edu. Those interested in participating can sign up here.
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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