Back to Basics: Reading Laudato Si

I wrote the first Laudato Si in Action article 3 years ago in May of 2019 and to celebrate that milestone as well as Laudato Si week, which is celebrated this year during the week of May 22, I thought I would write this week about the genesis of this column: Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si.

In the first paragraph of Laudato Si, Pope Francis quotes from Saint Francis, 

“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.” 

In the second paragraph, Pope Francis sounds the alarm of the climate crisis:

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. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).

Laudato Si is a foundational document that inspires and guides many people and groups, including the Saint Francis of Assisi ministry at St Johns which I help to lead. If you’ve never read the encyclical, now is a great time to dive in. And if you have already read before, now is also a good time to read it again. You will find an online version at 

And consider joining us at our next virtual Saint Francis of Assisi meeting on Tuesday, May 17. All are welcome! Email me at paul at thelitwins dot com for more information and the Zoom meeting link.

Working together, we can help take care of our common home. 

Paul Litwin

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