August 2019 Newsletter
Dear First Name,
Summer Slowdown? Hardly! The Covenant has been on a roll. In July, I reported on the enormously successful Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church conference at Creighton University. See below for more on that conference as well as links to the presentations and press coverage.
With major press coverage of two Catholic Energies (CE) solar projects (Hampton, VA, and Washington, DC), the phone has been literally ringing off the hook. Our CE team reports over 100 new inquiries from parishes, schools, religious orders and dioceses from around the country. Coverage by Catholic press and secular press, including an above-the-fold article in the Metro section of the Washington Post as well as a profile of yours truly in Washingtonian magazine, the years of hard work of our CE team and prayers and contributions from people like you—are paying off big-time. Check out all the press here.
Finally, thanks to all who donated to the special appeal not only for our end-of-the-fiscal-year campaign but for our brothers and sisters in Africa. In the end, we were able to donate nearly $10,000 of your contributions to a mid-July, Laudato Si' Conference. Allen Ottaro, head of the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa, sends his deepest appreciation for your contribution and reports that the conference was an amazing success.
Founding Executive Director
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholics Leading the Way
A Galvanizing Moment Reverberates: Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church Conference
The inspiration and energy generated by participants in the “Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church” conference at Creighton University in late June is galvanizing U.S. Catholic action on climate change and continues to generate media interest. Many of you have asked for more details and information. Covenant staff is collaborating with track leaders and is in the midst of distilling and advancing main takeaways and recommendations. Stay tuned for major new projects, programs and collaborations in the months ahead!
In the meantime, please visit the Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church webpage to learn more of what happened at the conference. The webpage includes links to plenary sessions texts/audio/presentation slides and media mentions. We continue to update the page as new material becomes available.
Implementation of the Laudato Si' and the U.S. Catholic Church Conference Webinar Recording
On June 30th, Covenant staff hosted a webinar to discuss the Laudato Si’conference, summarize key takeaways from the eight tracks, and outline how everyone can participate in the implementation phase of the conference. The webinar was one of the highest attended ever!
To watch the recorded webinar and see the presentation slides go here.
2019 Feast of St. Francis Program – It’s Almost Ready!
Now is the time to pre-register to receive the 2019 Feast of St. Francis Program. Staff is aiming to publish the material in mid-August. Pre-register to automatically be sent the program via email. The free 90-minute educational program contains prayers, readings, discussion questions, a short video, and suggested activities, and may be used by your community in October or any time that is convenient for you.
This year’s Feast of St Francis theme, “We Are All Connected: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor,” will complement and accompany the Vatican Synod, “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.” The Amazonian Synod will be held October 6 through 27, 2019, and the Feast of St. Francis (October 4th) presents a wonderful opportunity for Catholics to explore the issues of integral ecology, environmental and climate justice, and the rights of indigenous communities.
Catholic Energies Starts Two Solar Projects and Generates Media Attention
Two major Catholic Energies solar projects have recently garnered media attention. The first is the solar panel project at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hampton, VA and the second is Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington’s 5,000+ panel project which will create D.C.’s largest solar array and pollinator field. Both projects are the fruit of Catholic Energies labor and expertise. To learn more about these projects and watch a wonderful video where pastor, Fr. John Grace, speaks glowingly about the CE team go here.
Two new Resources Available
We are frequently asked to provide guidance for bulletin inserts and tips and a concise summary of Catholic social teaching and creation care. We now have two fantastic new resources to help you.
1) Creation Care Corner is a print-ready weekly placement for church bulletins to keep the message of Laudato Si’ and Catholic teachings on Creation Care in front of parishioners. The bulletin inserts offer a Creation Care quote (from popes and saints) and a weekly sustainability recommendation to help parishioners take concrete actions to make a meaningful reduction in their environmental footprint. We are thankful to the Creation Care Team and Andy Panelli of St Elizabeth Seton Church, Orland Hills, IL, for this very useful resource.
2) To assist you in teaching about a basic understanding of Catholic social teaching on care of creation, the science of global warming and the actions we can take to fight climate change, please check out this short booklet, A Catholic Response to Global Warming written by Steven J. Coleman, a parishioner and member of a Creation Care Team at St. Dennis in Marshall, Wisconsin.
Faithful Action on Climate Change
September 1st is the World Day of Prayer for Creation and Season of Creation
The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Sept. 1st) marks the beginning of the month- long Season of Creation. Both the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are encouraging pastors and faith communities to mark the day. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has highlighted the importance of the Season of Creation from September 1 to October 4 in a letter which includes some useful ideas for celebrations, such as incorporating creation care into liturgy, forming committees to promote integral ecology, and participating in advocacy.
The USCCB has sent out Liturgical Suggestions for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the Vatican issued a letter encouraging pastors and communities to celebrate the Season of Creation (which runs from Sept. 1st through the Feast of St. Francis on Oct. 4th). Feel free to share this with your pastor.
We have numerous resources to assist you in planning for the World Day of Prayer for Creation.
To plan events and programming for the Season of Creation visit http://www.seasonofcreation.org/.
Will You Pledge to Advocate for a 100% Clean Energy Economy? Our partner, the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach just launched a pledge to advocate for a 100% clean energy economy.
They are asking people of faith to meet with their Members of Congress during the August recess to urge them to support a federal response to climate change that puts the U.S. on a path towards a 100% clean energy economy by 2050.
When folks take the pledge, they receive our “100% clean energy economy toolkit,” which includes talking points on the issue, social media guidance, town hall questions, and a guide for how to meet with your Members of Congress.
Atlanta Seen as a Leader In Catholic Response To The Pope’s Environmental Message
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been a leader on creation care. Their fantastic Laudato Si’ Action Plan is one that many other dioceses are beginning to emulate. This is a wonderful article focusing on the great work happening in Atlanta.
National Conference Takes a Shine to Archdiocese’s Energy Efficiency
Ever wonder what your local Parish, school, or Catholic institution could do to improve its energy efficiency? The Archdiocese of New York is leading the way! Could your diocese do similar things? Catholic Energies can help!
Vatican City State Set to End Sale of Single-use Plastics
In May, the European Union voted to ban the sale of disposable plastics by 2021. Feeling the need to be more proactive, the Vatican announced that they would use what they have on hand and not order any new supplies. Check here to read about the Vatican’s green efforts.