I still remember the first time I became aware of an ecological spirituality taking root in me, though it would be years before, as a graduate student in theology, I first read Laudato Si' and discovered the language of ecological spirituality. This first moment of awareness came when I was a senior in high school and had just turned the page on a new a chapter of my borrowed copy of Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation. The chapter began, "A tree gives glory to God by being a tree." I would later write a line in song: "If it's so easy for a tree to be a tree \ Maybe she can teach me to be who I was meant to be."
Ecological spirituality emerges from an understanding of our existing in relationship with the rest of creation—indeed, within the web of relationships that itself constitutes creation. The birth of my own sense of ecological spirituality came about when I realized not only that I might have something to learn from a tree, but that a tree had its own relationship to God, too—and that my understanding of God could be deepened by paying attention to the tree.
Inevitably, when we begin to view ourselves as part of a web of relationships with other beloved creatures, we find ourselves more entangled in the suffering of the world, too. When one thread is cut, the whole web suffers. This is true regardless of whether we are aware of it, but our awareness can sharpen the sting, and motivate us to fight for an end to the suffering. This is what the planet needs right now: it needs a people resensitized to their blessed entanglement in the web of life, willing to fight for the protection of all of creation, especially its most vulnerable members.
This is why I am so excited this month to share with this community the launch of Ecospirituality Nights, our 6-month series focused on growing ecological spirituality amongst our community and beyond. In January, March, and May, we will listen as leaders in the climate justice community reflect on the role of ecological spirituality in sustaining their work. In the months in between, young adults will then be invited to join the speakers for intimate follow-up conversations to dive deeper into questions of spirituality and ecological justice. Register for the first keynote address in January on mindfulness and climate action with Christina Leaño, Associate Director of Laudato Si' Movement here, and read on for more information on future gatherings.
Director of Youth and Young Adult Mobilization, Catholic Climate Covenant
Announcing Ecospirituality Nights with the Covenant's Young Adult Community
As we enter a new year, all are welcome to join the Catholic Climate Covenant young adult community for Ecospirituality Nights, a multi-month virtual series exploring the spiritual foundations of our work for climate justice.
We are pleased to be joined by Christina Leaño, Associate Director of Laudato Si’ Movement, for our first keynote address on Monday, January 31 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET. Christina will share about the role of mindfulness in the work for ecological justice, and her remarks will be followed by time for questions. The keynote event is free and open to the public.
Young adults ages 18-39 are invited to join their peers and January’s keynote speaker, Christina Leaño, for an intimate follow-up conversation on February 21 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Register for the February young adult conversation here.
Stay tuned for more information on the remaining speakers in the series, including our March 21 keynote address by Sr. Joan Brown, OSF, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light.
Announcing Living Room Conversations with CCC
As we enter this new year, we at Catholic Climate Covenant are committed to listening and learning how we might better realize the potential for the Catholic community. Today we invite you to join us throughout 2022 for new, small, one-hour “Living Room Conversations.” These monthly gatherings will include approximately 15 people with Founder Dan Misleh or Executive Director Jose Aguto, for one hour, in candid dialogue. The conversations will be held on the last Thursday of each month at 1 pm and 8 pm ET, and be centered on a particular issue, program, or constituency, with occasional special guests.
Each month we want to hear from you and build community:
- What is working and what is not – for you, for the Covenant, the world at large?
- What ideas or solutions do you have for the challenges you see?
- How can we work better together, and with others?
Watch your email for registration announcements for these intimate gatherings, as they will fill quickly!
Apply for NETWORK's Intergenerational Dialogue
NETWORK is hosting a virtual Intergenerational Dialogue between some of our long-time Sister advocates and young justice seekers (ages 18-30) on Tuesday, February 15. In addition to the conversation, the event will feature special guest Olga Segura, author of Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church. Are you a young justice seeker who would like to participate in this valuable dialogue and share your wisdom with the NETWORK community? Please apply today!
What's your action plan?
Last month, National Catholic Reporter's EarthBeat featured a 30-day action plan for climate anxiety, filled with great ideas like stocking your local Little Free Library with environmental books, submitting public comment on environmental regulations, and gaming the algorithm to amplify climate voices. Get inspired to draft your action plan here.
USCCB LMFLY is hiring!
The Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (LMFLY) at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is hiring a Program Specialist in Youth and Young Adult MInistries, as well as a Staff Assistant in LMFLY. Learn more and apply for the positions at the links above.
Work on Care for Creation with the Laudato Si’ Movement!
The Laudato Si' Movement is looking for talented people to join their team. Please check and share their new open positions in North America and around the world
Will we see you at CSMG?
Register Now for the 2022 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering!
Justice at the Margins, January 29 – February 1, 2022, Virtual Gathering
Don’t miss this transformative annual gathering for leaders in Catholic social ministry and advocacy! This year, we will pray, learn, and advocate together on our Catholic vision for the post-pandemic world and call to bring justice to the margins.
For more than 30 years, the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) has brought together hundreds of participants whose faith inspires them to address pressing current domestic and global challenges affecting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters at home and around the world.
This year’s virtual gathering will include:
● Inspiring leading voices in Church and society.
● Workshops with policy experts and grassroots community leaders.
● Resources from dozens of Catholic social ministry organizations.
● Virtual advocacy visits with elected officials.
● And much more!
The entire program will be offered bilingually (English and Spanish) and sign interpretation will be available. Act now to be part of our special initiative for young leaders in Catholic social ministry and learn more about our Diversity Outreach Initiative. We are excited to be able to offer group registration as part of CSMG 2022. Take advantage of this opportunity to gather as a parish, campus delegation, or other groups to view, reflect, and participate in virtual plenaries and workshops together. Discounted registration rates are available for groups starting at 10 people.
Join the discussion and be part of the solution! Don’t wait, the priority deadline for participation in virtual advocacy visits is January 19, 2022: https://bit.ly/csmg2022
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