April 24, 2024 at 2:43 p.m.

Plant a Creation Care Team!

In partnership with the Dioceses of Syracuse and Ogdensburg, the Albany Diocese has been invited to join with other Catholics in a virtual (Zoom) learning and sharing program next month. A two-part orientation — “Let Us Act with Hope: Planting Creation Care Teams” — will take place May 16 and 23 (Thursdays), from 6:30-8 p.m.
In partnership with the Dioceses of Syracuse and Ogdensburg, the Albany Diocese has been invited to join with other Catholics in a virtual (Zoom) learning and sharing program next month. A two-part orientation — “Let Us Act with Hope: Planting Creation Care Teams” — will take place May 16 and 23 (Thursdays), from 6:30-8 p.m.

By Michael Burgess | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

With yellow forsythia bushes and returning songbirds declaring nature’s gifts, the Peace and Justice Commission is pleased to share a new opportunity for members of our Diocese to act on behalf of creation. Thanks to friends in the Dioceses of Syracuse and Ogdensburg, we’ve been invited to join with other Catholics in a virtual (Zoom) learning and sharing program next month. A two-part orientation — “Let Us Act with Hope: Planting Creation Care Teams” — will take place May 16 and 23 (Thursdays), from 6:30-8 p.m.

What is Creation Care? Does it mean being worried about climate change? How, if at all, does it relate to our Catholic faith in a loving God?

Thirty-four years ago, Pope John Paul II, most often associated with a focus on the human family and Divine Mercy, declared Jan. 1, 1990, the World Day of Peace with the theme “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation.” In a 12-page document he declared, “World peace is threatened not only by the arms race (and) regional conflicts … but also by the lack of necessary respect for nature, by the disordered exploitation of her resources, and by the progressive deterioration in the quality of life.”

Two years later, following ratification by the United States and 160 other nations of the first global treaty on climate action, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued “Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching” (1992).

On Jan. 1, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI, in his own message for the World Day of Peace, listed the facts of “climate change, desertification … the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes …. the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’ ” and said, “The Church has a responsibility toward creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of self-destruction.”

More recently, in the 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” Pope Francis declared, “What we need is an ecological conversion, whereby the effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationship with the world around us. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS, 217)

In response to those messages, parishioners in several Albany Diocese churches have formed Creation Care groups and taken a variety of steps to protect the environment, from planting pollinator gardens, composting food scraps and eliminating the use of plastic cutlery at church social functions, to replacing worn-out gas and oil burners with electric-powered heat pumps.

The Peace and Justice Commission encourages parishioners across the Diocese to consider joining this effort by participating in the May orientation program. The first session (May 16) will review the Laudato Si’ message and its relation to Catholic social teaching, along with the importance of lay leadership to implement change. The May 23 session will focus on recommended steps and available assistance for building a parish Creation Care team. Both sessions will include small-group sharing among participants.

To register, go to www.rcdony.org/laudatosi. Michael Burgess is the chair of Catholic Charities’ Peace and Justice Commission for the Diocese of Albany. For more questions, email Burgess at mjburgess1002@gmail.


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