Laudato Si’ Lent

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days
.
L U K E   4 : 1 – 2

LSAP Goal 1 is Response to the Cry of the Earth.

LSAP Goal 1 is Response to the Cry of the Earth. We are called to protect our common home for the well- being of all, as we equitably address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ecological sustainability.

Reflection questions:

  1. How can our community promote the adoption of renewable energy or better promote energy conservation?
  2. Do we have space on our campus to support biodiversity conservation through planting a pollinator garden or by selecting native plants?
  3. Have we considered how we can promote clean waterways by preventing litter and plastics from entering our water systems or by replacing pesticides and fertilizers with natural alternatives on our campus?
  4. How are we already responding to the Cry of the Earth? What additional ideas do you have to promote a response to the Cry of the Earth in our community?

Short Prayer: God of all, during this first week of Lent, may we hear the cry of the Earth and respond to the call to protect our common home. Help us to commit ourselves to this journey throughout the Lenten season through reimagining how we can equitably address the climate crisis, particularly through energy conservation, biodiversity, and promoting clean waterways in our parish community.

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my  Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us… This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. Laudato Si’ 1-2

LSAP Goal 2 is Respond to the Cry of the Poor.

LSAP Goal 2 is Respond to the Cry of the Poor. This goal is a call to promote ecological justice, aware that we are called to defend human life from conception to death, and all forms of life on Earth. When we consider this goal, we must ponder who are the people most vulnerable to the impacts of pollution and climate change? We also consider the plants, animals, and ecosystems that are threatened by these issues. How can we create a world where life can flourish abundantly?

Reflection questions:

  1. As we reflect on where we live, what communities and people are most directly affected by pollution and climate change?
  2. What are local environmental issues unique to our community that impact the health of our neighbors and our local ecosystem?
  3. How do we feel called to defend human life from conception to death and all forms of life on Earth?
  4. How are we already responding to the Cry of the Poor? What additional ideas do you have to promote a response to the Cry of the Poor in our community?

Short Prayer: God of solidarity, we pray that you help us to grow in our attention to the realities of the most vulnerable. We uplift the impacts of pollution on mothers and their unborn babies, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities that are statistically more likely to be located near environmental hazards, low-income communities that are often considered “the path of least resistance” for the placement of highways and factories, and the plants, animals, and ecosystems that cannot defend themselves against pollution and environmental degradation. May we build a capacity to take action as advocates in a way that defends the well-being of all people from conception to death, and of all forms of life on our planet.

  • E A S Y: Sign up for the Interconnected: 21-Day Catholic Environmental Justice Challenge to gain more knowledge about environmental justice issues.
  • M E D I U M: Learn about an environmental justice organization in your own community, and invite them to give a presentation about their work to your parish/religious community.
  • H A R D: Commit to learn from and partner with a local environmental justice group in your community. Create a structure to advocate for environmental justice issues that impact people in the community where you live.

I believe that Saint Francis is theexample par excellence of care forthe vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully andauthentically…He was particularlyconcerned for God’s creation andfor the poor and outcast…He was amystic and a pilgrim who lived insimplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others,with nature and with himself. Heshows us just how inseparable thebond is between concern fornature, justice for the poor,commitment to society, andinterior peace. Laudato Si’ 10

LSAP Goal 3 is Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere – our common home. This goal invites us to consider how our community participates in our economic system and if we prioritize the dignity of workers and consider the environmental impacts of the products we buy and use.

Reflection questions:

  1. Does our community mindfully purchase items that are produced in ways that provide a living wage to the people who make them and that are sustainable for our biosphere?
  2. Do the ways that we invest and spend money demonstrate our concern for the environment, a commitment to workers, and to the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change that are already happening?
  3. How can we support circular economies and try our best to practice ethical consumption?
  4. How are we already encouraging ecological economics? What additional ideas do you have to promote ecological economics in our community?

Short Prayer: God of all, may we be moved to tap into the countless ways that human ingenuity, animated by your Spirit, has allowed us to collectively live more sustainably on the Earth, protecting the dignity of people and planet. We pray that we always prioritize the dignity and rights of workers as we make purchasing decisions at our parish/in our community, and that we consider how our financial investments impact the health of the planet.

Sample Communal Actions for Goal 3:

  • E A S Y: Serve fair trade coffee at your next coffee hour or meeting, and provide a sign or briefly share how fair trade products support the dignity of workers and the earth.
  • M E D I U M: Commit to making your next order for your parish ethical (e.g. t-shirts, bags, water bottles, etc.). Learn more about E thix Merch, and consider learning about ways to integrate ethical purchasing into your everyday practices.
  • H A R D: Form a team to create an ethical purchasing or ethical investing policy at your parish/community.

“It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”Laudato Si’, 139

LSAP Goal 4 is the Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles

Goal 4 of the LSAP, Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles, is grounded in the idea of sufficiency, and promoting sobriety in the use of resources and energy. We are invited to consider ways in which we can live simply individually and as a parish or religious community.

Reflection questions:

  1. In what ways could we reduce waste at community events by opting for reusable items, providing composting, and more clearly labeling recycling?
  2. Are there opportunities to become more sustainable in our dietary habits by opting for more plant-based and/or locally-sourced meals at some of our events?
  3. Are there areas of our campus where we could limit or eliminate the use of single-use items (e.g. plastic water bottles, styrofoam cups, etc.)?
  4. If we have already found ways to live more sustainably as a community, are there any areas where we can focus our efforts (e.g. classrooms, off-campus retreats, parish meetings, religious community gatherings)?
  5. How are we already promoting the adoption of simple lifestyles? What additional ideas do you have to promote adoption of simple lifestyles in our community?

Short Prayer: As we attempt to live more simply, Laudato Si’ reminds us to follow the “little way of love” of St. Therese of Lisieux and that “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness. In the end, a world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world which mistreats life in all its forms.” God of our day-to- day, we ask, in the midst of all of the joy, sorrow, chaos, and fatigue of our lives, that you gift us with the courage to choose to live lightly on the Earth as we go about our daily lives.

  • E A S Y: Find one reusable alternative for a disposable product you use often in your parish/religious community.
  • M E D I U M: Commit to composting for an upcoming community event, such as a fish fry during Lent. There are often local composters you can contract if you don’t already have a system in place.
  • H A R D: Make a plan to install cleaner or more efficient lighting, reduce the use of heating and air conditioning through programmable thermostats, and install low-flow taps in your parish.

Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things,

to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack. This implies avoiding the dynamic of dominion and the mere accumulation of pleasures.” Laudato Si’, 222

LSAP Goal 5 is Ecological Education

LSAP Goal 5 is Ecological Education. This goal invites us to rethink our classes and programs in the spirit of integral ecology in order to foster ecological awareness and transformative action. In the parish and religious community context, we are invited to consider how parishioners and women and men religious are invited to reflect on ecological issues during mass, through programming, and in our faith development classes with students.

Reflection questions:

  1. How can we better provide educational opportunities about environmental issues for our parishioners or members of our community?
  2. Who might we invite to collaborate with us as we plan programming that invites members of our community to explore our local ecosystem?
  3. How might we integrate ecological education into our religious education classes, homilies, or other areas of our community life?
  4. How are we already promoting ecological education? What additional ideas do you have to promote ecological education in our community?

Short Prayer: God of creativity, breathe within us the gift of innovation and open mindedness, that we may rethink the ways in which we share the work of ecological justice in our homes, classrooms, parishes, workplaces, and communities.

Sample Communal Actions for Goal 5:

  • E A S Y: Create a Laudato Si’ Corner in your bulletin or newsletter with opportunities for members of your community to learn more about ecological issues and how they can act.
  • M E D I U M: Ask your priest to address care for creation in their homily using Catholic Climate Covenant’s h omily helpers.
  • H A R D: Create a Laudato Si’ Education Plan in your parish or community (this could include a book club, environmental movie nights, a discussion group, a program on home energy audits, exploration as a faith community about how the food we eat impacts the environment, etc.). If you are a parish with religious education classes, consider revising the curriculum to integrate ecological literacy into each age group’s religious education.

“Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change. We lack an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone. This basic awareness would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life. A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”

Laudato Si’, 202

LSAP Goal 6 is Ecological Spirituality

Ecological Spirituality springs from a profound ecological conversion and helps us to “discover God in all things”, both in the beauty of creation and in the sighs of the sick and the groans of the afflicted, aware that the life of the spirit is not dissociated from worldly realities.

This week we are invited to consider how we can promote and integrate ecological spirituality into our parish life and community.

Reflection questions:

  1. Do we promote creation-based liturgical celebrations or provide time for members of our community to pray outdoors or to intentionally reflect on creation?
  2. How does our community connect with the current realities surrounding us—”both in the beauty of creation and in the sighs of the sick and the groans of the afflicted”?
  3. How do we already practice ecological spirituality? What additional ideas do you have to promote ecological spirituality in our community?

Short Prayer: God of awe and wonder, may our hearts be open to finding you in all things, both in beauty and in suffering, so that our lives and action may affirm the dignity and value of all creation.

Sample Communal Actions for Goal 6:

  • E A S Y: As Pope Francis suggests in Laudato Si’, consider saying a prayer of thanksgiving before and after meals.
  • M E D I U M: Invite your community into praying the Ignatian Eco-Examen and offer a shared reflection opportunity, or consider joining the next Catholic Climate Covenant Eco-spirituality Night.
  • H A R D: Organize an eco-spirituality-focused retreat for your parish or religious community.

“The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast”.[152] For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. 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.
Laudato Si, 217

LSAP Goal 7 is Community Resilience and Empowerment

Community resilience and empowerment envisage a synodal journey of community engagement and participatory action at various levels.

Reflection questions:

  1. How is our parish/religious community currently engaged in advocacy at the local and national level? How does this advocacy speak to the realities of our community/neighborhood?
  2. What steps do we need to take in order to enroll in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform? Who would be involved in such an effort?
  3. How do we already promote empowerment and advocacy? What additional ideas do you have to promote community resilience and empowerment in our faith community, and beyond to the wider community?

Short Prayer: God of resurrection, we ask for the grace to collaborate with members of our community and all people who are working towards ecological justice and restoration. We pray for the spirit of discernment as we consider how our unique talents and vocations can support our community in this endeavor. Through our own discernment and engagement, we pray that we can empower others to see their own gifts and to act for ecological justice.

Sample Communal Actions for Goal 7:

“We must regain the  conviction thatwe need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” Laudato Si’, 229

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
LAUDATO SI’ ANIMATORS
Join the Laudato Si’ Movement’s free Laudato Si’ Animator course that will prepare you to lead the ecological conversion of your parish or local community. The course includes weekly readings, videos, online dialogues, and practical ideas to lead your community based on prayer, sustainability, and prophetic advocacy. Sign up by April 20, 2022!
HEALING EARTH E-TEXTBOOK
Healing Earth, is a free online environmental science textbook for upper level secondary school students, beginning college students, and adult learners. The Healing Earth team is based at Loyola University Chicago, and a 3rd edition of the textbook is set to launch in the coming months! View the text book here.
TEACHING RESOURCES FROM SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY
The Center for Sustainability at Santa Clara University provides a wide variety of resources for teachers who want to integrate sustainability into their curriculum. You can view teaching resources for faculty here and can see the sessions they have planned for Earth Week here