First published in The Criterion on May 15, 2020
On May 24, 2015, Pope Francis released his first encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” This year is the fifth anniversary of the release, and the worldwide Church is marking this occasion with virtual events and prayer during the dates of May 16-24, called Laudato Si’ Week.
The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is the official site for Laudato Si’ Week (www.laudatosiweek.org), and includes a message from Pope Francis renewing his urgent call for all of us to care for our Earth.
The theme of Laudato Si’ Week is “everything is connected,” taken from the encyclical: “Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society” (#91).
This is visible in our care for all life, from conception to death. It is visible in the care for those most vulnerable, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. May our prayers and actions reflect Christ’s love for our fellow human beings and for all of God’s creation.
The GCCM is calling on us to “come together as one people around the world to prayerfully discern the lessons of this moment. While the world experiences a history-defining crisis, we reflect and prepare to build a better world.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org/environment) and its supporting organization, the Catholic Climate Covenant (catholicclimatecovenant.org) are also promoting Laudato Si’ Week with resources and support to the dioceses across the United States.
We in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis also have resources for you, (ourcommonhome.org/laudatosiweek) including the “rollout” of the Earth Cube—a daily earth-friendly activity that the whole family can enjoy. See the website for more details.
You may also join the Sisters of St. Benedict at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove for evening prayer on May 22. The community has been streaming evening prayer every day on its Facebook page (Sisters of St. Benedict-Our Lady of Grace) during the pandemic. The May 22 prayer will be dedicated to Laudato Si’ Week.
Our archdiocesesan Creation Care Commission will also have our second Living Laudato Si’ Sustainability Program this summer. The commission works with contacts at different parishes across the archdiocese to identify energy and resource-efficient practices at the parish facilities, as well as raising awareness for parishioners. The plan is to enlist a number of parishes, begin creation care groups, and move forward in implementing the principles of Laudato Si’ in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Check our website, ourcommonhome.org, for more information or to contact us.
May we all reflect during this time on what we can do to build a better world for future generations. May we protect life and preserve that which sustains life. May we care for our common home.
As Pope Francis said, “Let’s take care of creation, a gift of our good Creator God. Let’s celebrate Laudato Si’ Week together.”
(Benedictine Sister Sheila Marie Fitzpatrick is director of Facilities at the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center in Beech Grove and a member of the archdiocese’s Creation Care Commission.)