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From the Director: Placing our vulnerable neighbors at the heart of prayers, advocacy and action
“Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” Pope Francis chose these words from the Prophet Amos as the theme for this year’s ecumenical Season of Creation. He asks that we care for our vulnerable neighbors and our common home, “by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.”
In one of our many responses to this plea, the Covenant along with many of our partners are asking the Biden Administration to lead global efforts to forgive the debts and restructure the debts of poorer nations. Nations in the developing world need trillions of dollars to implement climate solutions.
Yet many of them pay more to service their debts than they receive to address climate change. A collective effort by all creditors to forgive the debts in which too many developing nations are drowning will enable hundreds of billions of dollars to flow toward the climate solutions that can protect our vulnerable neighbors, but for which current funding flows are but a trickle.
This change in global public policy could let justice flow like a river for our neighbors in poorer countries who suffer the most from the climate crisis that we in the developed world are most responsible for causing. Pope Francis said in Laudato Si’, “The foreign debt of poor countries has become a way of controlling them . . . . The developed countries ought to help pay this debt . . . by assisting poorer countries to support policies and programmes of sustainable development. (LS52).
In previous decades, the United States has been both a global and bipartisan leader in debt forgiveness efforts. Calls for reform of this inequitable and unjust system of global finance are growing, including leaders like Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, U.S. Treasury Sec. Yellen, by Lawrence Summer and Bono in a recent opinion, and within the international financial institutions themselves.
We ask that you join in this call - to “let justice flow on like a river” - by adding your name to this letter, asking the Biden Administration to lead the global efforts for the forgiveness of debt. We will deliver this letter and our collective voice to Administration officials at the end of the Season of Creation on October 4. We hope and pray that our efforts will be in the minds, hearts and agenda of the US delegation as it enters into the next round of international climate negotiations (COP28) that start November 30.
This Season of Creation I hope you will join us -- and countless Catholics around the world -- in placing our vulnerable neighbors at the heart of our prayers, advocacy and action.
In shared faith,
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant Updates
ACTION OF THE MONTH
Season of Creation Call to Action
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.
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.”
Order a Season of Creation liturgical banner
We invite you to order our beautiful Season of Creation liturgical banner which is now available in eco-friendly/union printed cloth through the Ignatian Solidarity Network's online ethical merchandise store! (while you are there check out the new God's Planet T-shirt!)
The 2-feet wide x 6-feet tall banner can be hung or displayed on a vertical stand, and features St. Francis with a dove and love for creation, with a background of land, water, vegetation and the sun shining through stained glass behind him, representative of our Catholic faith and love for all of God's creation and people.
There are three versions of the banner to choose from: English, Spanish, and bilingual.
2023 Feast of St. Francis Program now 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!
Living the Season of Creation Nonviolently
Join the Ignatian Solidarity Network, Catholic Climate Covenant, Laudato Sí Movement, and Pax Christi USA as we explore the interconnections between gospel nonviolence and care for creation.
During this five-week program, learn about the vow of nonviolence and how it can radically transform our way of living as stewards on earth. Explore a piece of the Vow of Nonviolence each week, and join a live Zoom session where you can make the vow in community on Oct. 2.
Each week during the Season of Creation you will receive an email with a:
- short video exploring the weekly theme
- scripture quote
- practical invitation to practice nonviolence in your daily life
- set of reflection questions
You can sign up for the weekly emails here, and/or explore a Fall series on nonviolence here from Pax Christi.
The IRA turns one. Learn how the law can help you!
To celebrate a year of the Inflation Reduction Act, the biggest climate investment in history, we want to make sure you have the proper resources to access IRA funding. The IRA is providing many churches and communities of faith with the resources they need to make a green transition. Use all the resources here to find out how you can benefit from IRA funding in your home parish!
Grant program to help Minneapolis-area parishes go green
The Parish Net Zero Covenant Grant Program is an initiative to help four parishes in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis reduce their energy consumption and discern pathways to reach net zero in carbon emissions.
The Program is a joint initiative of Catholic Climate Covenant, Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, Verdis Group, the Center for Mission (Archdiocese of Saint Paul – Minneapolis), and EnerChange.
Join us at 3:00 pm ET on September 20 for an informational webinar to outline the Parish Net Zero Covenant Grant Program! Register at www.bit.ly/NetZeroCovenant.
CCC in the News
National Catholic Reporter covered the Laudato Si' Champions, the 13 award winners honored July 27 during the closing session of our "Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church" conference, co-hosted by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University. Asked if the conference series has achieved its goal of more deeply integrating Laudato Si' into the life of the U.S. church, our founder Dan Misleh said, it has raised the profile of the issue, but “there are so many things that the church can do, and that it has the resources to do, but there are too many dioceses that haven't stepped up on this and really need to.” We were all inspired by the winners to do more!
OSV News covers what Catholic dioceses and organizations, including our Catholic Energies program, are doing to become caretakers of the earth. Saving both money and the planet are major plusses -- but our founder Dan Misleh identified an evangelical reason, too. "This is what young people are looking for. They want to see their Catholic Church demonstrating that they are concerned about their future," said Misleh. "If we want to retain or draw back young people into our faith, this should be one of the things that we ought to focus on."
How do thermometer-bursting digits relate to wider concerns about climate change, a warming earth, and the call to action of Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si'" -- and can individual Catholics make a difference?
"So this is our future unless we dramatically reduce the burning of fossil fuels," Jose Aguto, our executive director, told OSV News. "We do not have time for political self-interest and financial self-interest to be the determining drivers of how we, as a civilization, are to chart our future."
The U.S. Catholic Mission Association hosted Diana Marin, who serves as Young Adult Mobilization program manager for the Catholic Climate Covenant, on their podcast, where she talked about Wholemakers, a multi-session Catholic curriculum designed for youth and young adults to explore and deepen their understanding of creation care and climate action.
Sept 17: Join the faithful for the March to End Fossil Fuels in NYC and attend Youth Press Conference
Feel the hope as we march as people of faith on Sunday, September 17, in NYC. This climate march is happening just days before the UN Climate Ambition Summit on Sept. 20 in NYC. We will call on President Biden to stop fossil fuel expansion.
Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement (a chapter of the Laudato Si' Movement) and Pax Christi Metro NY invite you to gather with us as a Catholic Contingent in front of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle at 59th& 9th Ave. from 11:00 to 11:30 AM. They will have visuals available for people to carry. St. Paul’s welcomes us to their 10:00 Mass. They will then join the GreenFaith Hub for an interfaith noon prayer service prior to the march. Join us and bring your friends.
Let’s join with people of faith to give witness to our commitment to a sustainable environment for all and a thriving future for our children and the generations to come. Email Metro NY Catholic Climate Movement at MNYCCM@gmail.com to get updates.
In addition, Catholic Climate Covenant’s youth mobilization program invites us all to a press conference at 11:10 AM on Sept. 17th at the same location, in support of Catholic youth who are also marching.
Join Franciscan Season of Creation Prayer Service via Zoom
Join together in prayer to “Let Justice & Peace Flow” during a short evening service via Zoom. Celebrate the Season of Creation in praise and thanksgiving for God’s Creation from 6:30 to 7:30pm on September 25. Register now to receive the link via email.
This event is free and sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help through their Franciscans For Earth movement outreach. More info here.
Climate Resiliency and Health Care: A Feast of St. Francis Webinar
Join Catholic Health Association for a webinar explaining why climate resiliency needs to be a strategic priority for health care organizations and how to make plans to manage extreme weather risks and promote community resilience. September 20, 1:00- 2:00 Eastern Time.
In this webinar, you will:
- Gain insight into how health care climate resiliency is critical to addressing climate change's threats to population health, health equity and health care delivery.
- Develop an understanding of the various components and aspects of resiliency planning for health care organizations.
- Learn how to get started in developing a climate resiliency plan for your organization, including a review of available resources, tools and first steps.
Attend a National Drive Electric Event in Your Area
Are you interested in electric vehicles but don't know where to test drive new EVs, learn more about their climate benefits, and talk to other current and prospective EV drivers?
Join Interfaith Power and Light at National Drive Electric Week, Sep. 22nd-Oct. 1st, 2023, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. National Drive Electric Week has dozens of in-person and online events across the country, with new events being added daily. There's even an opportunity to host your own event at your local house of worship or congregation.
Voices of Vision and Hope event Oct 7th
“The great work of our time: To activate our ecological self. To heal our planet, our common home.”
Join in on a day of inquiry and dialogue on the state of our planet, offering global perspectives informed by United Nations initiatives, possibilities for engagement inspired by the Laudato Si' Action Platform, and wisdom of Geologian Thomas Berry for an empowering ecological spirituality. Guest animators 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, 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 by Sept 24th, to register for in-person or virtual attendance to FR. Francis Gargani, CSsR, email@example.com or 718-644-5127.
Big news! Pope Francis will release a follow-up to his apostolic exhortation on the environment on Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis, providing an update to his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si'. Francis said the new apostolic exhortation is an effort to help "put an end to the senseless war against our common home.” The Vatican Press Office said the document will address "the most recent extreme weather events and catastrophes affecting people across five continents."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a Season of Creation message decrying pollution and injustice filling the nation's rivers and streams in a message for the 2023 Season of Creation. Archbishop Borys Gudziak and Bishop David Malloy wrote that many of the watersheds across the United States have long been vital streams of life, beauty, connection and economic growth. But their currents have also carried more harmful cargo: “pollution, contamination, and garbage bringing injustice to peoples, creatures, and ecosystems. We must change!"
A group of young people in Montana won a landmark lawsuit when a judge ruled that the state’s failure to consider climate change when approving fossil fuel projects was unconstitutional. The ruling means that Montana, a major coal and gas producing state that gets one-third of its energy by burning coal, must consider climate change when deciding whether to approve or renew fossil fuel projects, according to The New York Times.
A Catholic liturgical guide for the Season of Creation. The Dominican Center: Spirituality for Mission booklet introduces the Season of Creation and offers resources for celebrating each of the Sundays of the season from September 1, the World Day for Prayer for Creation, through October 4, the feast of St. Francis. It offers penitential rite suggestions, prayers for the liturgy, scriptural reflections and more. Download the liturgy here.
ArchIndy Creation Care Commission members John Mundell and Sarah Mundell joined thousands of pilgrims at World Youth Day as they traveled to Portugal this August to represent the Laudato Si' Action Platform. John and Sarah lead and participate in discussions, workshops, and activities centered around the principles of Laudato Si’ and environmental sustainability.
St. Francis Novena Resource
The Diocese of San Diego has shared a resource in their Season of Creation 2023 folder – social media post images to align to the days of the St. Francis Novena. Enjoy and share, and pray! They reference “Pray More Novenas.”
CRS offers global food crisis and emergency updates. Catholic Relief Services offers regular updates on the Global Food Crisis for sharing with your network. This is such a difficult time in our modern history! Find an August report on emergency response and recovery efforts worldwide here, including responses to El Niño, and a recent global food crisis report here.
Our Sunday Visitor highlights the work of Laudato Si’ Animators, an initiative of the Laudato Si' Movement that certifies individuals committed to creating "a global network of motivated Catholics who are empowered to bring Laudato Si' to life in their communities.”
Erin Lothes, Catholic theologian and senior manager of the Laudato Si' Animators Program, described an animator as "a person who joins in our mission to care for our common home; to begin a journey of ecological conversion, as Pope Francis has called us all to do; to take action to care for our common home; to bring this into parish life, community life; and to raise a prophetic voice for the changes we need in society."
U.S. House Rep. Summer Lee participated in a panel at Duquesne University on moral and political responses to pollution and climate change. Scalabrinian Fr. Bill Christy and Sister of St. Joseph Kari Pohl participated as well.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo sent a letter to all priests in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston recommending that every parish screen the “The Letter,” a documentary about the Pope’s environmental activism, during the month of September. Galveston-Houston is one of the largest dioceses in the U.S.
The oldest Catholic Church built in the United States is getting a green upgrade. The San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe will have solar panels installed on the roof of the adobe structure constructed around 1610.The project will demonstrate that even historic landmarks can merge with current technology for sustainable solutions in the face of climate change, organizers said.
Elevate your skills as a climate leader. The En-ROADS Climate Ambassador Camp offers an exclusive opportunity to expand your influence as a climate leader. Launching on October 19, this free 8-week training program will equip you to use En-ROADS—a powerful climate solutions simulator from the team at Climate Interactive and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative—to engage others to take climate action. The program will offer weekly live sessions, short videos, quizzes, written materials, and an international community to connect with. Apply here.
BTS Center announces Season 2 of Climate Changed podcast. The BTS Center in Portland, Maine has announced that Season 2 of their Climate Changed podcast will premiere on September 26, 2023. The podcast will be available on podcasting platforms and on The BTS Center’s website. Co-Hosts Rev. Nicole Diroff and Ben Yosua-Davis engage in conversations with artists, educators, and activists who bring the breadth of their knowledge and the depth of their humanity to their work as agents of change. Each podcast features a grounding exercise to promote centering and intentional listening, as well as next steps for engaged hope to help listeners attune to opportunities in their own home communities.
Interdiocesan Creation Care Network & Creation Care Teams
EcoPhilly in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is building a partnership with St Joseph's University and their various sustainability initiatives, while Our Mother of Consolation Catholic Church in Chestnut Hill is working with city representatives and other officials to promote the bipartisan bill HB652, dealing with environmental justice.
Creation Care of the Diocese of San Diego is offering several youth opportunities this Season of Creation, including an art contest with cash prizes. The Creation Care Teens program will be offered throughout the school year for those who wish to serve as Laudato Si’ leaders, and A Season of Creation “Call to Action” Prayer Service and Advocacy Program is designed to take the place of school walkouts with prayerful reflection, witnessing and action. More Season of Creation events and resources are available at https://sdcatholic.org/event/seasonofcreation23/.
Creation Care at St. Elizabeth Seton in Orland Hills, Illinois kept Creation Care visible for eight weeks in parish media through an art contest that solicited 50 entries and gave cash prizes across age groups. The parish also had an Inflation Reduction Act informational session in the narthex after church, lobbied State and Federal Congressional Representatives, made calls and sent letters, participated in a climate march, and wrote letters to the editor.
The Laudato Si Animation Team at the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the Central Pacific Province will be encouraging plant-based meals and their protein content as compared to animal-derived protein.
The Holy Name of Jesus, Redlands, CA, will pick up trash in the Santa Ana Riverbed, and, beginning Sept 18 will host eight Zoom sessions over the next 9 months to offer participants the opportunity to develop a Laudato Si’ Action Plan, following the Maryknoll Affiliates LSAP Worksheets. https://godsplanet.us/maryknoll-affiliates-lsap-goals-worksheets.
The Peace and Justice, Caring for Creation team at St. Joe’s in Norman, OK is focusing on Eco-Economics, with a challenge to apply the concepts to the problem of plastic pollution. Parish members of all ages are being asked to share the creative things they’re doing to reduce plastic. Participants will be eligible to win a random drawing for a cash prize.
The All Saints Creation Care Team, Knoxville, TN has collaborated with two other groups within the Diocese of Knoxville to plan a series of events and activities for The Season of Creation, including a Smoky Mountain hike and a ranger guided nature walk in a local state birding park.
The Laudato Si’ Circle and NC Catholics Caring for Creation in Raleigh, NC will host a Zoom meeting on Sept 13 on “Remembering Pope Benedict XVI, the Green Pope, his life and legacy,” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom link.
The Care for Creation Team serving the Archdiocese of St Paul & Minneapolis has created a St. Kateri Tekakwitha Chaplet.
Job Opportunity: Interfaith Power & Light is seeking a Communications Manager who will develop and implement a national communications strategy to raise the profile of Interfaith Power & Light and broadcast faith-based and moral messages for climate action. Read more here for the application instructions and fill out this Google form and send a cover letter and resume by October 5, 2023 to email@example.com
Well, done all!
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