‘Laudato Si” Events Planned for New Jersey, UGA

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province


Last summer, Pope Francis released his encyclical about the importance of caring for creation. Since then, ministries have been working to keep the message of “Laudato Si’” in the forefront of people’s minds.

When it was released last June, many friars spoke of how the pontiff’s document energized them and gave them hope.

Now the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation is providing reflections related to the encyclical to assist friars and their partners-in-ministry in generating discussions. The free resources — created by the JPIC ministry of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md. —are available on HNP.org. Staff members will add links to additional resources as they become available.

The reflections, available in two languages – English and Spanish – include titles such as “Integral Ecology: A Challenge to Live with Mercy,” “The Agony in the Garden: What’s Happening to our Common Home?” and “Pope Francis Call to Care for our Common Home: What This Has to Do With My Catholic Faith.” The reflections offer videos, links to news stories and other resources.

In addition to these resources, the JPIC Office also offers on its website a variety of ways ministries can deepen their commitment to caring for creation.

In northern New Jersey, St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes has organized a program called “Care for Our Common Home” that will reflect on the encyclical’s theme through an evening of humor and photos.

At 7 p.m. on March 15, St. Mary’s Advocates for Justice will present, according to the parish bulletin, “an enjoyable, riveting” presentation highlighting key themes from Pope Francis’ encyclical. “What better way to spend an evening during Lent than to listen to what our pope is calling us to act upon in this moment of human history?” Said Jackie Schramm, director of social justice ministry at St. Mary’s. “The presentation is interspersed with humor, pictures, and personal stories followed by a discussion where you can enter into the dialogue the pope is asking of us now.”

This updated program — first presented on Oct. 28 — has been requested by three other parishes as well as by a nearby senior residence, said Schramm.

“Work on ecology is not about saving the Earth. As Pope Francis helps us see, it is about healing our relationships with God, creation and each other,” she said.

Those interested in next week’s event are asked to RSVP to Schramm, who last fall with a team from the parish developed the website EarthActions.org to provide information and resources.  She encourages partners-in-ministry from around the Province to visit the website.  “This encyclical is written for everyone,” she said.

In Georgia, the University of Georgia’s Catholic Center will be hosting the archbishop of the Atlanta Archdiocese who will unveil the archdiocese’s “Laudato Si’” plan on April 5. Because the plan was developed by professors at the University of Georgia, “they felt this was the best place for the news conference,” said David Briones, a staff member at the UGA Catholic Center. Speakers will include Archbishop Wilton Gregory, John C. Coughlin, OFM, director of the center, and Catholic Center students and professors.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

Related Links