Laudato Si Encyclical
In May of 2015 Pope Francis released his Laudato Si encyclical. The name comes from the “Laudato Si, Mi Signore” or “Praise be to you, my Lord” which Pope Francis took from Saint Francis of Assisi’s beautiful canticle. The encyclical addresses climate change, climate injustice, and the care for creation. In the encyclical, Our Holy Father implores us to listen to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”. (Full text of Laudato Si Encyclical.)
In the Fall of 2021, the Vatican released the Laudato Si Action Platform (LSAP) and a website, https://laudatosiactionplatform.org. A companion site for US Catholics was created by Catholic Climate Covenant and contains some supplementary material at https://godsplanet.us.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a unique collaboration between the Vatican, an international coalition of Catholic organizations, and “all men and women of goodwill.” (LS 3) Taking a truly ground-up approach, it is rooted in the strengths and realities of communities around the world, empowering all to take “decisive action, here and now” as we journey towards a better future together. (LS 161)
Action is urgently needed. Our Creator called the human family to be the steward of creation, but we have neglected that call. Our hotter, dirtier, deader planet is driving up the risk of suffering. The most vulnerable suffer above all.
To remain committed as a Laudato Si’ Parish, only three things are requested.
- Complete an annual self-assessment to discern where we are on the road to integral ecology, so that we might travel together.
- Upload a reflection on how our values are connected to the Laudato Si’ Goals, so that others might be inspired by it.
- Upload an annual Laudato Si’ Plan that includes our target outcomes and the actions we will take this year, so that others might grow along with us.
The LSAP sets seven goals which we are asked to use to guide our actions over a seven-year journey to sustainability:
- The Response to the Cry of the Earth is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we equitably address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ecological sustainability.
- The Response to the Cry of the Poor is a call to promote eco-justice, aware that we are called to defend human life from conception to death, and all forms of life on Earth.
- Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere – our common home.
- The Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles is grounded in the idea of sufficiency and promoting sobriety in the use of resources and energy.
- Ecological Education is about rethinking and redesigning curricular and institutional reform in the spirit of integral ecology in order to foster ecological awareness and transformative action.
- 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.
- Community Resilience and Empowerment envisage a synodal journey of community engagement and participatory action at various levels.
We are asked to embrace the platform for a seven-year journey. Each year, it is suggested that we follow three phases: reflect, act, and evaluate.
- Begin with a baseline evaluation to establish a starting point for our practices. We can use an annual self-assessment form that is available in our dashboard at LaudatoSiActionPlatform.org.
- Consider how our Parish’s unique values and identity are connected with the Laudato Si’ Goals and upload a reflection document or video to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
- Consider the processes that we use to make decisions about our Laudato Si’ Plan.
- Establish the objectives we would like to reach through our Laudato Si’ Plan.
- Review a suggested list of actions provided by the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (or others).
- Create an annual Laudato Si’ Plan and upload it to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
- Implement the actions we have chosen.
- Complete an annual self-assessment to see how we have made progress.
- Based on the results of our annual self-assessment, reflect on our journey thus far.
- Attend an online recognition ceremony hosted by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and hold an annual celebration.
- Create a Laudato Si’ Plan for the coming year.