Archdiocese Launches New Laudato Si’ Local Action Plan for Protecting the Planet
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marking the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for the environment, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington launches our Laudato Si’’ Action Plan: Embarking On A Seven-Year Journey Promoting An Integral Ecology. The Action Plan offers easy, moderate, and advanced strategies for individuals, parishes, schools and other institutions to work toward protecting the Earth, our common home, and all human life.
A result of eighteen months of work by the laity-led Care for Creation Committee and the archdiocesan Office of Social Concerns, this local action plan is to be used throughout the Archdiocese. It is a call to people of faith to “embrace environmental science and the science of climate change to protect and preserve the environment for future generations because the Earth is God’s wondrous creation and gift to humanity.” (Laudato Si’ Plan p. 6)
Crafted for the people of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, this local Laudato Si’ Action Plan seeks to work toward an integral ecology – the concept that says that caring for our fellow human beings is connected to our concern for the environment. (Laudato Si’ No. 139) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington Laudato Si’ Action Plan aims to reflect an integral ecology in the life of its parishes, parish schools, and with the faithful.
In an opening letter in the Laudato Si’ Action Plan, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, writes, “This Action Plan is for all of us! We are all called to protect our common home according to our ability and means…” He goes on to invite everyone to study the plan “…and be challenged to protect and restore our fragile Earth and our natural resources.”
The plan includes simple, low-cost steps that households, parishes and others can take to conserve water and electricity and to protect natural resources. It also has relevant videos and links to resources such as grant applications, study guides and local environment-focused events. It ranks suggested activities on a scale from “easy,” such as “cut down on single-use plastics,” to “moderate,” including “incorporate justice and care for our common home into faith formation programs at all levels,” and a few “advanced” activities including “compost food scraps.”
Genevieve Mougey, director of the Archdiocese’s Office for Social Concerns, put the action plan in context of the August 9 United Nations (U.N.) report on the dire threat to the world from climate change. “While the U.N report illustrates the gravity of the situation we are facing, it behooves us as Christians to remember the core tenet of our faith is hope. Hope moves us forward to live in God’s call of love and the care for our common home. The reality of what it means to be a Christian is that we live in hope. That’s what the encyclical and this action plan call us to do – act out of hope and faith in God’s love for us and our planet.”
The action plan is being distributed to all priests and employees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. It is available to the public online at adw.org/laudatosi.
All are invited to join us in-person or on livestream for a special Mass October 3 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 2020 Saint Joseph Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20774. In solidarity with Pope Francis, this Mass will highlight St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, as it marks the start of October as Respect Life Month and celebrates all of God’s creation, including our common Earthly home and life at all ages and stages.
Read our local Laudato Si’ Action Plan and learn more about our work for environmental justice in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington at adw.org/laudatosi.
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The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 655,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 90 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.