First published in The Criterion on March 25, 2016
Stewardship of creation is more than something we just do. Stewardship of creation is a response. It is a way of being and understanding our place in the world. Stewardship of creation is integral to what we are all called to do as Catholics: To respond in love to God who loved us first. … For people of faith, this environmental crisis is more than just a scientific or technological problem. It is a moral problem. It is not a marginal matter, but a fundamental priority that must be addressed now and not left to our children or grandchildren to resolve.Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin
Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin spoke these words nearly a year ago during a prayer breakfast on Stewardship of Creation held at Marian University in Indianapolis. His presentation could not have been more prophetic in preparing his audience to receive Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” only a few months later. (The document is available on our web page at www.archindy.org/creationcare.)
The archbishop’s remarks were particularly significant to several of us who have been concerned about and actively working on creation care issues for a number of years and in a variety of ways. His passion ignited in us a renewed hope that the archdiocese can engage in creation care ministry in a meaningful way. His reflections on possible next steps served to bring a group of us together to consider how we might be of service in helping make creation care ministry a reality throughout the archdiocese.
Drawing from our diverse backgrounds and experiences, our group has developed a vision of a sustainable archdiocese.
We have a vision of an archdiocese that is committed to the principles and values set forth by Pope Francis in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” and demonstrates that commitment by supporting efforts of parishes and parishioners to become more sustainable.
We have a vision of parishes that are mindful of their use of energy and resources. We have a vision that all parishioners make good environmental choices in their homes and daily lives, and understand that their choices affect the lives of others. They know the joy of living more simply and understand that creation care is a moral imperative.
This vision was shared with Archbishop Tobin, who encouraged us to continue our efforts. Deacon Michael Braun, director of the Secretariat of Pastoral Ministries, is now serving as the archdiocesan liaison for Creation Care Ministry.
Learn more about “Laudato Si’ ” and ways we can respond to the call to care for our common home on the Creation Care Ministry webpage at www.archindy.org/creationcare. On the website, you’ll find resources in English and Spanish from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for liturgy, preaching and taking action.
Future columns in The Criterion will explore how we can know the joys of living more simply and sustainably. Our group can assist parishes that wish to begin their own Creation Care Ministries. We welcome your input and ideas.
“God does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our Earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!” (“Laudato Si’,” #245)