Care for Creation — Creation Care Team seeks local connections

Pam Raidt

I remember the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic. I had just retired from teaching and was isolated at home. Before the pandemic, I had been active with the environmental committee at St. Francis of Assisi Church, but with COVID, those meetings stopped. 

Fortunately, I found other environmental groups that met on Zoom. I also heard about an online course for “Laudato Si’ Animators.” Since I read the encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” with my parish group five years earlier, I was eager to learn how I could put the pope’s teaching into practice. 

The course included readings and reflections, but for me the most powerful part of the experience was meeting virtually with Catholics from around the world. Catholics in the Philippines and India and countries in Africa and Europe described their experiences of climate change and the actions they were taking to address it. The global connections were inspiring, but I didn’t know how to connect with local Catholics who were also ready to act on the principles of Laudato Si’.

Then in January of 2023, I signed up for another online course on Laudato Si’ led by Father Jim Flynn, a local retired priest. This was an opportunity to reread the encyclical and share insights with others, including members of local parishes. 

After completing the course, Father Flynn gathered a local group to participate in the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, an initiative of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The platform supports individuals, schools, parishes, dioceses and other Catholic organizations in developing Laudato Si’ Action Plans that promote concrete actions to protect our common home. 

Two of us met with Archbishop Shelton and presented our proposal for an Archdiocesan Creation Care Team with our mission “to encourage and empower the people of our archdiocese to express love for God and one another and respect for all life by exercising good stewardship and care for God’s creation as an essential practice of our faith.”

 Since the archbishop has officially recognized our Creation Care Team, we are eager to connect with parishes, schools and other groups within the archdiocese in our work to achieve Laudato Si’ Action Goals. 

As a first step, we will send out a survey with questions about actions your parish, school or group is already taking. We want to recognize the many ways you are caring for God’s creation in the programs and services you offer.

 The importance of making connections to share information and resources throughout the archdiocese is illustrated by an image used by John Mundell, director of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. In a presentation last January at Epiphany Church, he showed two photos. The first was a single drop of water causing ripples on the surface of a pool. The second was a powerful ocean wave. 

Individually, our actions to care for God’s creation can make ripples, but together, we can be a powerful force for addressing the environmental challenges to our common home.

If you would like to connect with our archdiocesan Creation Care Team, please email CreationCare@archlou.org or find our webpage at https://archlou.org/creation-care.

Pam Raidt, a member of St. Francis of Assisi Church, chairs the Creation Care Team for the Archdiocese of Louisville.

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