This program is designed with the 2016 Feast of St. Francis (October 4) in mind. However, we hope you will feel free to implement the program at a time that is convenient to your parish or school.

As you know, Pope Francis was so inspired by St. Francis of Assisi that he is the first Roman pontiff to take the saint’s name. He has challenged us to make care for creation and care for the poor a cornerstone of our Catholic witness.

This year marks the 37th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi being named the Patron Saint of those who promote ecology by St. John Paul II.

This year is also an election year in the United States. The conversation about climate change has become extremely polarized and even confrontational at times. Sadly, in the U.S. Congress the issue of climate change has been set aside at a time when urgent action is direly needed. The Church has a role to play in bridging the divide and in figuring out how to create safe spaces in our parishes and schools to have better dialogue on difficult issues such as climate change. We need to be able to hold civil and “courageous conversations,” and create common ground by forming more “both/and” arguments and less “either/or.”