Praised be! On June 18, Columban missionaries welcomed and celebrated the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. The full title translated into English is Praised Be, On Care for Our Common Home and is available online for everyone to read.
While it is written in a way that should be accessible to most readers, it is 190 pages long and full of many thought-provoking teachings on the right relationships between religion and science, and between politics and the economy, as it pertains to the care for the environment. Having read it, I can attest that it is worthy of the time and attention. But it left me wanting to take more time to study the teachings, to discuss it with friends, and to answer “What should we do next?”
With this in mind, we created a Laudato Si’ Study and Action Guide to help people learn and reflect on Pope Francis’ teaching, and find direction on ways to respond.
The guide offers one page for each of the six chapters of the encyclical. For each chapter, there are a summary, reflection questions to be addressed individually or in small groups, details of the lived experiences of Columban missionaries, and suggestions for taking action. The last page of the guide offers two prayers shared by Pope Francis in the encyclical.
Pope Francis asks, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” The answer is “It is up to us.” We accept that “[m]any things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.” We see the great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge before us and we are inspired by his invitation “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” and “to integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Like the Second Vatican Council, which “opened a window to the modern world,” Pope Francis has opened a window to the “splendid universal communion” with which humans and all creation are joined. He calls us to an “ecological conversion” to turn away from an over-consuming economy and a throwaway culture, and to turn toward deeper reverence for every living creature and the future of God’s creation.
We are excited to study Pope Francis’ teaching and take action to care for our common home. We hope you join us!
Faith in Action: Invite your member of Congress to read Laudato Si’