Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home
From June 27-29, 2019, Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University hosted the inaugural gathering of “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home.” This was the first of three biennial events designed to more deeply integrate Laudato Si’ and Catholic climate change teaching into eight key ministries of the U.S. Catholic Church: Advocacy, Adult Faith Formation, Creation Care Teams, Energy Management, Higher Education, Liturgy, School Education, Young Adult Ministry.
The conference opened on Thursday evening with “The U.S. Catholic Church: Laudato Si’, Creation Care, and the Climate Crisis.” Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, offered a welcome and read a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States communicating Pope Francis’s blessing on the conference. Revered Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, President of Creighton University, provided opening remarks about how the gathering expressed and advanced Creighton’s Catholic, Jesuit mission. Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, PhD, Bishop of San Diego, and Meghan Goodwin, MA, Associate Director of Government Relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, then discussed the U.S. Catholic response to Laudato Si’ and Church climate change teaching. The session was moderated by Martha Shulski, PhD, Director of the Nebraska State Climate Office.
Bishop Robert W. McElroy’s Opening Keynote Address (full text, via National Catholic Reporter)
Meghan Goodwin’s Opening Keynote Address
Friday and Saturday Plenaries:
On Friday and Saturday, conference participants attended four plenary addresses on Friday and Saturday: Spirituality & Conversion (Erin Lothes Biviano, PhD, associate professor of theology College of Saint Elizabeth), What Is Happening to Our Common Home (Martha Shulski, PhD), Love in Action (Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, PhD, professor of theology at Boston College), and Climate Justice (Sacoby Wilson, PhD, Associate Professor of Applied Environmental Health at University of Maryland-College Park).
Climate Justice: Dr. Sacoby Wilson (audio)
Track Breakout Sessions
After each address, participants attended topical breakout sessions to discuss how to better integrate keynote insights about Laudato Si’ and Catholic climate change teaching into the eight identified U.S. Catholic ministries. Each session was be guided by a team of experienced leaders, including those from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services.
Evening Keynote Addresses
In the evenings, participants respectively heard keynote addresses from Fr. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, PhD, Coordinator of the Sector on Ecology and Creation-Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Sr. Patricia Siemen, OP, JD, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Following this inaugural gathering, track leaders will work with Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University to develop and implement new ministry-specific resources and initiatives with which to more deeply integrate Laudato Si’ and Catholic climate change teaching into the U.S. Catholic Church.
California Catholic Daily
“San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy keynotes Laudato Si’ conference,” July 6, 2019. https://cal-catholic.com/san-diego-bishop-robert-mcelroy-keynotes-laudato-si-conference/.
Ignatian Solidarity Network
“Creighton University hosts inaugural ‘Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,’” by ISN Staff, July 16, 2019: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2019/07/16/creighton-university-inaugural-laudato-si-catholic-church-conference/
Journal of Moral Theology
Daniel R. DiLeo, PhD, assistant professor and director of the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Creighton University and consultant with Catholic Climate Covenant will edit a special 2020 issue of the peer-reviewed JMT with conference keynote and plenary addresses.
National Catholic Reporter
“A Virginia parish switched to 100% solar power — and paid nothing,” July 1, 2019.https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/virginia-parish-switched-100-solar-power-and-paid-nothing.
“Amid climate threat, Catholics pursue ecological conversion in US Church,” July 11, 2019. https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/amid-climate-threat-catholics-pursue-ecological-conversion-us-church.
“A key question about the climate crisis: how to talk about it,” Jul 11, 2019 by Bill Mitchell: https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/key-question-about-climate-crisis-how-talk-about-it
“Editorial: With the Earth in peril, we must act on behalf of God's creation,” 7/23/19 (NCR Staff): https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/editorial-earth-peril-we-must-act-behalf-gods-creation
“Bishop McElroy on Laudato Si': An 'urgent summons' to the American people (Full text of the San Diego bishop's speech at the Creighton climate conference)”, Jul 23, 2019, by Bishop Robert McElroy: https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/bishop-mcelroy-laudato-si-urgent-summons-american-people
“Climate should be 'a central priority' for US church, says Bishop McElroy,” Jul 23, 2019, by Brian Roewe: https://www.ncronline.org/news/environment/climate-should-be-central-priority-us-church-says-bishop-mcelroy
Omaha Catholic Voice
“Climate conference held at Creighton Univ.,” July 12, 2019, http://edition.4hop.com/CATHOLIC_VOICE/CV_071219/index.html#?page=22