by Jill Ragar Esfeld
In an address to members of the diplomatic corps in 2010, Pope Benedict linked the environment to the sanctity of life.
“How can we separate, or even set at odds,” he said, “the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?”
Five years later, in his own landmark encyclical letter “Laudato si’ (“Praise be to you”), Pope Francis expanded on that precept.
“The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all,” he wrote. “At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life.”
Now, as the church prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of “Laudato si,’” the Holy Father has invited Catholics around the world to join in a week of celebration, prayer and action, renewing our commitment to being good stewards of God’s creation.
The invitation was presented in a video message in which Pope Francis asked, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who will come after us, to children who are growing up?
“Motivated by this question,” he said, “I would like to invite you to participate in Laudato Si’ Week.”
The theme of the week is “Everything is connected.” It begins this Saturday, May 16, and concludes with a worldwide day of prayer on May 24.
Many events were originally planned for the celebration, but because of Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders, activities have been adapted for online participation.
They still present a wonderful opportunity for families to grow together in faith and connect with Catholic communities around the world, learning how we can be stewards of creation.
For those interested in accepting Pope Francis’ invitation to reflect, pray and prepare for a better future together, you can find information at www.laudatosiweek.org.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is a Laudato Si’ Week partner.
The USCCB has online resources that include prayers, activities and readings to help deepen our understanding of the environment in light of Catholic social teaching.
The website includes information on how to teach children to be good stewards of the earth and has links to information from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Environmental Justice.
To get started, visit www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment.
As we live through one of the most difficult moments in modern times, we can take this opportunity to connect in the solidarity of our Catholic faith and learn how to build a bright and sustainable future together.