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Moving Forward with the Encyclical



Our hope is that all our Franciscan communities are able to deepen their commitment to Care for Creation action as they reflect on the Pope’s message in Laudator Si’.


Suggested action for each MINISTRY:

  1. Direct action at various levels
  2. Team building
  3. Advocacy
    1. Green Climate Fund (USCCB/Bishops’ Conference and Citizen Climate Lobby (CCL) are both engaging in this effort)
    2. National carbon standard
  • Reflection guide from Rome OFM JPIC Office (available at—For the fall and spring, invite people to read and reflect upon the encyclical. Goal of the guided reflection is to answer the question, “What should our ministry be doing differently if we take Laudato Si’ seriously?”
  • On-going media work to promote all of the above
  • Prepare for a spring 2016 gathering (perhaps organized regionally) to determine next steps as a Province.


Presentations | Study Programs | Media Work | Advocacy Work | Lifestyle Changes | Other Resources


  • Siena College (Loudenville, N.Y.) – Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of HNP’s post-novitiate formation, led a campus conversation “On Care of Our Common Home” at the college on March 10, 2016. He urged students and faculty to listen to Laudato Si’ and follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi. Details about the program are available on Siena’s website. Contact: Fr. Sean O’Brien, OFM.
  • St. Mary’s Church (Pompton Lakes, NJ) – On March 15, St. Mary’s Advocates for Justice gave a presentation highlighting key themes from Pope Francis’ encyclical. The evening presentation was interspersed with humor, pictures, and personal stories and was followed by a discussion to allow for the dialogue that Pope Francis calls all to.  This updated program — first presented on Oct. 28, 2015 — has since been requested by a number of other parishes as well as by a nearby senior residence. Contact: Jackie Schramm
  • St. Francis Springs Prayer Center (Stoneville, NC) – The Prayer Center hosted a troupe that performs a skit promoting Pope Francis’ encyclical/St. Francis’ care for creation message. One hundred local school kids viewed the presentation at the Prayer Center over two days. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN) Contact: St. Francis Springs Prayer Center
  • St. Francis Springs Prayer Center (Stoneville, NC)Fr. Louis Canino, OFM visited the local Catholic schools and made short talks to classes about the Franciscan care for creation message. (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN) Contact: St. Francis Springs Prayer Center
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Raleigh, NC) – The community held events in Raleigh the week of the encyclical’s release, including an interfaith celebration. (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Trevor Thompson
  • St. Paul’s Parish (Wilmington, DE)The parish planned to hold a presentation about the encyclical around the Feast of St. Francis (Oct. 4). (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Fr. Chris Posch, OFM
  • St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish (Hartford, CT) – Sr. Caryn Crook, OSF, a Sister of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, made a presentation to the parish around the feast of St. Francis, taking the community through the encyclical; her talk was entitled, “Praised Be….the Connection between Ecology, Poverty and Morality.” A week later the community viewed the film “Chasing Ice” and engaged in group discussion afterwards. (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Fran D’Amico
  • St. Francis Springs Prayer Center (Stoneville, NC)Fr. Bob Menard, OFM led a day of recollection entitled “The Gaze of Jesus,” that focused on the encyclical. Contact: Francis Springs Prayer Center
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Triangle, VA) – In July 2015, Br. Casey Cole, OFM gave a talk on the encyclical in the church, reviewing its major point and summing up the Catholic Social Teaching. The presentation was held in the church to emphasize that the encyclical is, in fact, a church document. Contact: Rob Goraieb, OFS
  • Bethany Ministries (Middleburgh, NY) – Fr. Peter Chepaitis, OFM and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM hope to modify a presentation they created for the opening of an environmental center that uses the Canticle of the Creatures, the personas of Francis and Clare, and puppets to bring the Franciscan message of creation care to life. (ALL AGES) Contact: Fr. Peter Chepaitis, OFM


Study Programs

  • St. Patrick Friary (Buffalo, N.Y.) A series of workshops on Laudato Si’ led by Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian St. Patrick Friary, Sr. Sharon Goodremote, FSSJ, and Carol Anne Cornelius, energy manager for the Diocese of Buffalo, were held at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, N.Y. The program, which ended on April 13, 2016, discussed the spiritual and Franciscan foundations of Laudato Si’ as well as how to put them into practice. Contact:  Fr. Jud Weiksnar, OFM
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Raleigh, NC) – Using attendee names collected at encyclical kick-off events, the parish established encyclical study groups. In October, the parish focused on Pope Francis’ message about anxiety and lack of meaning with a program entitled “Moving from a Culture of Anxiety to a Culture of Care.” (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Trevor Thompson
  • St. Camillus Parish (Silver Spring, MD) – The parish created a bi-lingual small group reflection program on Laudato Si’ for use during Lent. (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM
  • Immaculate Conception Parish (Durham, NC) – The staff created a four-part study program on the encyclical based on the “See Think Reflect Act” model. The program included a write-up of particular actions that people may take as well as some panel discussions. The staff added a six-week small group study for interested parties.  Two of these participants joined the parish’s “Green Team” engaged in the community’s GreenFaith certification.  (ADULT EDUCATION) Contact: Maryann Crea
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Triangle, VA) – Parishioners have been encouraged to read the encyclical; a link to the document has been promoted/made available. On July 16, 2015, the parish designated the coming year as the “Year of the Encyclical,” committing the time to delve into the rich document. Each parish group will pull cogent pieces from the document, creating and launching a plan for using the encyclical in their particular ministry (i.e., it is more than a JPIC document). (COMMUNITY WIDE – school and parish) Contact: Rob Goraieb, OFS
  • Clemson University Campus Ministry (Clemson, SC) – The campus ministry lead a 4-week program in Lent on the encyclical; it included actions the students can take. Contact: Fr. Bob Menard, OFM



Media Work – Bulletins, Social, Print

  • Catholic Center at UGA (Athens, GA):  On April 5, the University of Georgia’s Catholic Center hosted the archbishop of the Atlanta Archdiocese who unveiled the archdiocese’s “Laudato Si’’” plan. Because the plan was developed by professors at the University of Georgia, they felt this was the best place for a news conference.  Speakers included Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Fr. John Coughlin, OFM, director of the center, and Catholic Center students and professors.  Contact:  David Briones
  • St. Francis of Assisi Parish (Triangle, VA)The parish has been running portions of the encyclical in bulletins and on social media. Contact: Rob Goraieb, OFS
  • Holy Name College (Silver Spring, MD) – One of the Holy Name Province friars participated in a compilation interview with Catholic News Service around the time of the Pope’s visit to Washington, DC  in September 2015.  View the complete interview here.  The HNP brother appears from about minute 2:01 to 2:25. Contact: Br. Abraham Joseph, OFM

Incorporating Messages from the Encyclical into Existing Ministry Programs


Advocacy Work

  • St. Camillus Parish (Silver Spring, MD)Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM mobilized parishioners to participate in a vigil the evening before Pope Francis met with Congress in September 2015. The event called attention to the Pope’s critique of Laissez Faire capitalism, which leads to a devouring of the poor, a plundering of the earth, and a breakdown of society.

In addition, critical advocacy work around climate change continues to be promoted.

There are many ways to engage on this issue in the U.S.:

Support EPA ruling on Carbon Emissions.

Give to the Green Climate Fund – Helps developing nations most impacted by climate change – not charity but justice, because the richer nations essentially created, through their choices, the situations that the developing nations are facing the brunt of…Wealthier nations have moral debt to pay.

Engage with the Citizen Climate Lobby – offers avenues to get involved in Popular Movements. A webinar introducing HNP ministries to CCL is planned for April 27 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm (ET).  To register, contact the JPIC Office at or 301-680-2200.

This work may alienate HNP parishioners – if so, then so be it. Franciscan must put pressure on people to engage the Pope’s message. Contact: Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM


Lifestyle Changes

  • Holy Name College (Silver Spring, MD) – The community is working to better model the lifestyle Pope Francis calls for in the encyclical. The house is recycling and composting. The community also has opted to make the change to “green” energy even though they will have to pay a bit more for it. All in all they are trying to make decisions that reflect their commitment to creation care. Contact: Br. Abraham Joseph, OFM
  • Mt. Irenaeus (West Clarksville, NY)Those at the Mount continue to live in a way that demonstrates the importance of setting aside time and space for silent contemplation, and inviting others to do the same. Such experiences allow people to retreat from and reflect on the consumerist society that the Pope calls out. Contact: Br. Joe Kotula, OFM


Other Resources

  • Bethany Ministries (Middleburgh, NY)Fr. Peter Chepaitis, OFM worked to create a version of the encyclical that incorporates inclusive language and American spelling.  He is unsure that he caught every instance but his version is a good start.  To view a PDF of this version, click here.  Contact: Fr. Peter Chepaitis, OFM
  • St. Mary’s Church (Pompton Lakes, NJ)The parish created a care for creation-focused website,, that catalogs care for creation efforts and events (e.g., on fracking, climate change, GMO, etc.). The community encourages other HNP ministries to use the site to share information. The staff invited parishioners to upload a phone app that gives them the ability to scan bar codes so they can easily access the site/remember the address. Contact: Jackie Schramm
  •– The site houses a petition that was shared at the Paris Climate Summit – part of a mobilization effort of people of faith.
  • francis35.orgThe site includes an ENGLISH version of the Laudato Si’ study guide created by the Rome OFM JPIC Office (other language versions in process). The website was put together to celebrate the 35th anniversary of St. Francis being name the patron saint of ecology (marked November 29, 2014). It houses a number of JPIC resources in multiple languages.


Suggested actions for the PROVINCE:

  • Encourage all ministries to participate in this effort—Message: We take seriously the Pope’s reflection and invitation to action
    1. Letter to ministries/friars from HNP Provincial Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM
    2. Resources from HNP JPIC Office and partners
  • Fall fraternal gatherings – time was set for the friars to reflect upon Laudato Si’
  • Public commitment to divest from fossil fuels and invest in new energy
  1. We need written proposal for the divestment
  2. Process to move this forward is rather straight forward
  3. Elon Musk
  • Hold a September press event sharing our common actions in response to Pope Francis’s encyclical and in gratitude for his coming to the U.S.
  • Participation in the November 12-14 Theology and Ministry Conference at Catholic University.

Suggested actions as part of the ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE:

  1. Get at least two (2) ministries from each of the other provinces to form Creation Care Teams
  2. Encourage all the provinces to consider divestment
  3. Participation on some level in Paris meetings
  4. Private/Public conversation with 4-5 Catholic energy company CEOs; have the Provincial(s) meet with them to discuss how we can help each other respond to the Pope’s invitation to action. With the Franciscan commitment to dialogue, these meetings are not about telling companies what they are doing wrong, but about encouraging genuine exchanges to find common answers.

Questions—How can we do more on the poverty/economic aspects of the encyclical? —Will this work come naturally out of our reflection process? Will conversations about lifestyles lead to discussions of economic systems?