CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, gives dioceses practical advice and guidance on how to strengthen their care of creation

Aprile 3, 2018

CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, has released a letter that gives dioceses important practical advice about how to strengthen their care of creation. As the convening authority for Latin America’s bishops, CELAM’s guidance is valuable and highly trusted.

Following are selected highlights from the letter. The full text is available here.

135. The approach of the Integral Ecology that lies at the heart of this encyclical of Pope Francis must be assumed by the whole Church, as a constitutive dimension of the evangelizing task. We urge each Episcopal Conference of Latin America and all dioceses to consider the establishment of a Commission or Pastoral of Integral Ecology that will help the ecclesial community to take care of creation actively, actively collaborating with social pastorals in the social dimension of the Evangelism.

136. We need parishes, schools, universities, whose practices give testimony of an ecological culture that respects, loves and defends Life, all human life and all of Creation. The Eco-Parishes Guide, the “Green Seminar”, eco-neighborhoods, sustainable schools, sustainable universities are ecopedagogical references to generate an ecological citizenship consistent with environmental responsibility.

139. Integral Ecology implies a prayerful and contemplative spirituality in action. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, we praise the Creator and thank for each one of his creatures. The World Catholic Climate Movement translates well that commitment to pray for and with Creation, assuming an austere and simple lifestyle, and publicly advocating for the defense of life.

140. The “Time for Creation”, which is an increasingly popular celebration worldwide with the participation of many Christian churches and various episcopal conferences. It is a concrete opportunity for the Church to deepen its process of ecological conversion. This ecumenical celebration takes place annually between September 1, World Day of Prayer for the care of Creation, instituted by Pope Francis, and October 4, feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This is a good first step to creatively permeate the liturgical times, the sacramental rites, the expressions of popular piety and, in general, the celebrative dimension of the faith, so that everyday behavior expresses the ecological spirituality of the communities.

Global Catholic Climate Movement is a network of 700 member organizations and thousands of Catholic people around the world, responding to Pope Francis’ call to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

If you’d like to encourage your diocese to establish an office dedicated to care of creation, please consider hosting an event on April 22, Earth Day. Earth Day began in 1970 as a global celebration of creation and is now celebrated in 190+ countries around the world.

This Earth Day, Catholics around the globe are coming together as one to protect creation and all who share it. We’re encouraging our dioceses to establish diocesan creation care offices, as CELAM suggests. Please learn more and register your event here.