Changing Spain’s future through Laudato Si’
Villamartín in southern Spain, by Andrés Alpresa
Montaña Alpresa of southern Spain knows well the power and importance of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change and ecology, which has helped millions of people realize that caring for creation is a key tenet of our faith.
She studied environmental science and earned her master’s degree in environmental education, and encountered Global Catholic Climate Movement two years ago.
“Laudato Si’ has been a fundamental support for me in my professional career and in my personal environment, showing the importance of caring for our common home and showing the fundamental role that we Catholics have in this regard,” she said.
Alpresa decided to enroll in the Laudato Si’ Animator program earlier this year to turn her commitment into action in the Church. She knew she would benefit from world-class training that equips people with the tools and knowledge to make change in their community.
Alpresa used the free six-week training to better understand how she can share the hopeful message of Laudato Si’ with young people, who are the future of our common home.
“A large part of the population is unaware of the encyclical and the actions that can be carried out to care for our common home. We cannot respect what we do not know, and this is evident in our actions,” she said.
Alpresa and thousands of people from six continents came together weekly to learn and discuss the key teachings of Laudato Si’ and what we as Catholics must do to stop the climate crisis.
They learned from experts and connected through small group discussions and message board conversations that lifted their spirits and deepened their understanding of the world-changing encyclical.
“For me, Laudato Si’ is a document of vital importance that should be known by all Catholics around the world,” she said.
Every Animator graduates the program by finishing a final project. Alpresa worked with her local church in Villamartín to add teachings about Laudato Si’ into the church’s youth education program, which teaches about 300 children ages 8-13.
Sometimes the classes read from Laudato Si’, and other times they teach on the themes of the encyclical, such as how everything is connected and what that means for people living in the village of 13,000.
The students also read different parts of the Bible that take into account how all people are called to care for God’s creation and respect the environment.
“My objective with the project is to make the encyclical known among the younger population,” she said.
Alpresa eventually wants to expand the program throughout southern Spain, helping thousands more young people experience the life-changing knowledge of Laudato Si’.