Eco-Conversion Begins with Love of God, of Each Other, and of Creation

“The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast” (Laudato Si’, 217, citing Benedict XVI)

Using words from Pope Emeritus Benedict’s first homily as pope in April of 2005, Pope Francis’s builds the argument in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, that each of us is called to an eco-conversion if we are going to address what is happening to the world around us. That world around us is the universe given to us by our Creator, the Creator who gave us life.

When we embrace this truth and encounter Jesus Christ as our true redeemer and the redeemer of everything that surrounds us, what springs forth is enough life and love to fill all the deserts, both internal and external.

Recognizing and acting on God’s call to attend to both internal and external deserts is one of the most powerful drivers for our own eco-conversion. It is also the driver of the work of Catholic Climate Covenant, an organization for which I serve as a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-appointed member. 

Today I write to you to urge you to support the Covenant’s work because the deserts are growing, and we need your help, your conversion, your involvement.

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In the central Washington Diocese of Yakima where I serve, our community has been hit hard by devastating fires. And in a largely agricultural landscape, we have seen immigrant families who labor in our fields struggle to deal with all that has impacted them this year: COVID, loss of wages, and the effects of climate change.

Another reality is that these same families who suffer the most because of climate change often have the least amount of sway on the policies, decisions, and resources needed to combat it. Just as we sometimes mindlessly throw away plastic that pollutes our world, too often our society does not think of the fact that we throw away people.

God is calling on us to notice, to be mindful.

If we pay attention, the idea of integral ecology and our own faith tradition show us that everything is connected. Our actions are felt most immediately by families such as those in central Washington, the farmworkers who help put food on our tables but then go unnoticed.

For nearly 15 years, Catholic Climate Covenant has been urging all U.S. Catholics to notice, to see Jesus Christ in each other, to allow that to move us to interior conversion and then to respond in loving actions.

The Covenant provides Catholic individuals and organizations the resources, support, education and advocacy tools to protect Our Common Home through internal conversions and through united actions. Together, let us walk in solidarity with Creation and with people struggling for a better life. Let us make the deserts bloom.

I urge you to join me in supporting the Covenant’s work. 

Please DONATE now.

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Yours in Christ,

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Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson
Bishop of the Diocese of Yakima
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