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Caring for Our Common Home

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By Mary Dateo

This is the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for our common home, Laudato Sí.

In recognition, the California Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a pastoral statement, God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home. It invites all Californians to appreciate the beauty of our state, reiterates the urgent need for action to address the crisis of climate change, and invites everyone to safeguard our state’s natural gifts.

The Summary of the Pastoral Statement begins, “California has been blessed with great beauty. Through all creation, God is revealed. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Sí calls us to rediscover in awe and wonder the beauty of creation. At the same time, we must respond to the cry of the earth in its suffering of our mistreatment of the natural world…

“We, the bishops of California, are publishing this pastoral statement with a two-fold vision: to animate and energize the implementation of what we are called to do as we face the current crises in California and to offer a dynamic teaching tool that evangelizes our Catholic faith community and beyond to respond… We invite the people of California to reflect on ways we can more faithfully and effectively care for creation in thanksgiving to God for this great gift.”

God Calls Us All to Care for Our Common Home, and the Summary, can be found at
www.cacatholic.org/common-home.

Bishop Cantú has written, “Growing up in a large family taught me many valuable lessons. Among them were: cleaning up after myself; being considerate of others; and sharing resources, food and space. As a human family, we share a common home – God’s creation. Among the very first commands God gave to humanity was “till the soil,” – that is, care for the gift of creation, which is ours to use wisely and prudently. As we mark the fourth anniversary of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on care for God’s creation, let us commit ourselves to cleaning up after ourselves; being considerate of others, especially the poor and marginalized; and caring for the common resources of God’s creation that we share.”

A common theme of these statements is the importance for each person to act.

“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS 217)

Several members of the Diocese have organized the Stewards of Our Common Home to focus on this ministry. Their goal is to provide assistance and tools to help people, parishes, schools, and organizations to care for creation.

They have created a list, “Environmental Actions You Can Take,” available on the Diocesan website, and ask you to prayerfully consider what additional actions you can take.

The Stewards plan to develop further website resources, present information at Diocesan events, and organize events such as workshops and speakers. If you are interested in hearing about future activities, have suggestions, or would like to join them, information is available on the Diocesan website.