Home Diocese ‘Laudato Si’ at one year: Catholics Inspired to Act on Climate Change

‘Laudato Si’ at one year: Catholics Inspired to Act on Climate Change

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WASHINGTON (CNS) – Thinking green is not easy. Nor is it always cheap. But for St. Michael Parish in Poway, California, north of San Diego, parishioners are already seeing the benefits – spiritual, financial and environmental – of a $1.3 million investment in a solar panel system. In the year since the panels were installed on several buildings across the 26-acre church property, the parish has seen its electricity costs fall by more than 75 percent to about $5,000 a month from $20,000 to $22,000 monthly, said Father John Dolan, pastor. At the current rate, the system will pay for itself within six years, he said. What’s better, Father Dolan told Catholic News Service, is that parishioners know that their church is part of a planet-wide movement in response to Pope Francis’ year-old encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” that calls upon everyone to better care for God’s creation and one another. “People are buying into this,” Father Dolan said, explaining how topics on the environment and sustainability come up in parish conversations, even during coffee-and-doughnut gatherings after Sunday Mass. “We have to think on a global level. This is no longer just a regional thing. We have to reach into this call to stewardship. We have dominion over the world and not domination.”