Many parishes are still getting started digesting Laudato Si’. As recent polls have shown, a large percentage of Catholics still don’t know what the encyclical is and they haven’t heard about it at church. In many quarters, more non-Catholics than Catholics are hearing about Laudato Si’!
Still, there is much to celebrate and many to collaborate with. Many paths, examples, and resources are available, and we will be tracking more. The Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the best examples of action. There, the diocese has been willing to speak out publicly on Laudato Si and implement diocesan wide energy efficiency, renewable energy, and training initiatives. African American Catholics will gather for mobilization in a November 2nd training, which will also commemorate those who have already died from climate change impacts, including the thousands who died in the Chicago heat wave.
In other dioceses, the efforts are mostly lay led. For example, Catholics in Denver, Colorado led the Climate Mobilization rally (Let’s get off fossil fuels “without delay” as Francis calls us to do in LS 165). Catholics have met and collaborated with indigenous leaders and ranchers, farmers, and community members in rural areas to hear and respond to the effects of fracking, participating in national meetings and rallies. A day of action on October 5 brought together over 300 people into the streets of Denver, with actions at the Saddle Butte, the EPA, the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, the Capitol, and Halliburton. It ended with a direct action that erected a 20 foot fracking rig in front of the Governor’s Mansion and played people telling the stories of the impacts they have been seeing.
On the parish level, when parishes have not organized reading series on Laudato Si’ parishioners have often started to read and meet for discussions on the encyclical in small groups.
Christ on the Mountain parish in Lakewood, Colorado held a 7-week discussion series, consisting of an hour of small group discussion on each chapter, followed by half hour of brainstorming and exchange on possible action and follow up.
Vie Thorgren, a Catholic Climate Covenant ambassador — all trained by bishops! — has shared her personal testimonial on what she has found meaningful in Laudato Si‘. The Pope has invited everyone, Catholic and not, into such sharing — to read, reflect, and dialogue on care of our common home, and our path forward.
Please share your examples, stories, and resources you’ve developed to carry Laudato Si’ and action forward! Drop a line to [email protected]