Laudato Si’ Action Platform
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which has primary responsibility for promoting the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, has created the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP) as a space for parishes to learn and grow together in making the teachings of the Encyclical come to life.
Why This Is Important
As Pope Francis states in Laudato Si’, “Caring for our brothers and sisters means caring for the home we share. This responsibility is ‘essential to a life of virtue.’” (LS 217)1
“Our faith dictates that we have to care about and for humankind and we can’t do that without caring for the earth, our common home. In short, we see the assault on the environment as a fundamental matter of right and wrong.” –Cardinal Blase Cupich, 2015
Laudato Si’ Action Platform Presentations Near You
To learn more about the Encyclical and the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and identify how to bring Laudato Si’ to life within your parish community, you are warmly invited to attend a parish creation care reception and presentation.
- Sunday, October 24 | 2 – 4 p.m.
St. Mary of Vernon Parish, Indian Creek (Vic-I)
- Tuesday, October 26 | 7 – 9 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin School, McBrady Center, Orland Hills (Vic-V)
- Wednesday, October 27 | 7 – 9 p.m.
St. Nicholas Parish, Oldershaw Hall, Evanston (Vic-II)
- Sunday, November 21 | 1 – 3 p.m.
St. Giles Parish, McDonough Hall, Oak Park (Vic-IV)
- Saturday, November 27 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago (Vic-III)
- Thursday, December 2 | 7 – 9 p.m.
St. James Parish, Chicago (Vic-VI)
1 Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis, On Care For Our Common Home” (May 24, 2015)
Parish Laudato Si’ Journeys
Ascension Parish in Oak Park, IL is a vital Catholic church, school, and community, established in 1907. We have excellent lay leadership and are known as a Peace and Justice congregation. Ascension has a vibrant Creation Care Ministry created at the launch of Laudato Si’ in 2015. It’s called HOME, Honoring Our Mother Earth, and the acronym connects to the subtitle of the encyclical, “Caring For Our Common Home.” We function under the umbrella of our long-standing and vibrant Peace and Justice Committee.
We are inspired by the comprehensiveness and integral ecology eloquence in Laudato Si’ and we feel the Holy Spirit at our backs. There was and is a great reception for it in our church and community. Environmental advocates and activists were waiting for an opportunity to do this faith-based work.
With over 20 members, good parish support (fostered), an impressive Advisory Committee and some successful and ongoing initiatives, we are grateful and continue growing our ministry. We won a state award for our Green Team Creation Care initiatives from Faith In Place several years ago.
We yearn for parishioners to take more actions to remediate climate change, and we hope they hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Yet data on parishioners’ actions is not available. Some other ministries also actively support Creation Care. Others will be encouraged.
Some Creation Care accomplishments of Ascension’s HOME team and other ministries since 2015:
- Laudato Si’ Gardens Galore! We hear the cry of the marginalized and help with food insecurity. And we attract pollinators and Monarchs with our native plant gardens.
- A large Community Veggie Garden with over 14 raised beds where over a ton of produce is grown and donated each growing season to our sister church, St. Martin de Porres in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, for the food insecure. This is a mutual effort with a team from each church
- Two student STEM veggie beds and a hydroponic garden
- Several native flower and plant gardens as well as beautiful annual and perennial flowers, including three Mary gardens and one with St. Jude.
- We launched our Zero Waste effort in the school lunchroom and throughout the parish. On launch day in the school lunchroom, we got down from 83% to 15% landfill!
- The HOME team has made a Creation Care/STEM connection with our wonderful school and staff and remind them that Laudato Si’ can be a vehicle subject to teach religion, science, math, civics, art, music and more. We have taught a Laudato Si’ 4-day Religion class to 6th – 8th graders; spoken to the teachers and school staff; shared Laudato Si’ information, books, and resources; and helped create a Creation Care Green Club with the students.
- Lenten Carbon Fasts for five years in a row to assess our carbon footprint and reduce energy use, waste, and consumption in line with Catholic Social Teaching.
- We put important, targeted Creation Care information, graphics, video clips and more in our parish publications. We are grateful for the support. Now it’s time to act!
- We have done some Laudato Si’ events to educate, inspire, act. We hosted several films, including an entry for the One Earth Film Festival which attracted over 200.
- We had an energy audit, funded by Faith In Place, in 2015. We have an opportunity for Community Solar in our village for churches, a win-win to save money and to help remediate climate change. We need more support from the Archdiocese.
- Music and Worship makes sure that we often pray and sing for God’s Creation. We yearn for more pulpit support for Creation Care, especially to teach that climate change actions are part of Catholic Social Teaching. Climate change is here, now, even in the Midwest. Climate change mitigation is so urgent that Pope Francis is putting a seven-year focus on it. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we can do it!
- We have an opportunity for Community Solar for churches in our village. This would be a win-win to save money and to help remediate climate change. We need more support from the Archdiocese and their ability to deal with the complex ComEd contracts. Please focus on this Community Solar option for our parish and others.
- Peace and Justice has been a dynamic force for nearly 40 years to hear the cry of the disadvantaged. They do so much and hosted several Creches from Around the World events after Christmas. Climate change continues to affect the poor and causes more climate change immigration and asylum-seeking, which will grow exponentially.
- Adult Lifelong Learning has had presenters speak on Creation Care and Laudato Si’.
- Our HOME team logo is symbolic of our work and is Christ centered. Jesus stands on our parish’s dome and the dome becomes Mother Earth, our common home.
- We ask the Archdiocese to divest from their fossil fuel stocks to be in alignment with Laudato Si’, to protect Archdiocesan assets at this delicate time and to communicate this Laudato Si’ action to the Archdiocesan faithful so they will also divest. We have been part of the postcard signature campaign to ask for divestment.
- We yearn to meet people where they are and engage them. An interactive game is being planned to get “cool points” for doing actions to reduce energy, waste, consumption. Making it fun can and will engage more people. We need the masses!
St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL has a culture which can be perfectly described as, “All are welcome here.” With about 1,700 registered families, we are a diverse and active group of individuals who love God and each other. We worship and work together for the common good of our parish community, the archdiocese and the Universal Church.
Our mission statement is:
We are the Body of Christ at St. Nicholas. Grounded in our diversity, we gather for worship, cherish the traditions of our Catholic Faith, witness to the Gospel of Jesus, minister to others, and live as Christians in the world.
Life at St. Nicholas revolves around the goals of Laudato Si’. They play a critical role in directing the activities of the parish and working in this world to the glory of God in the next.
There are 59 listed committees and ministries at St. Nicholas. All of them are about caring for God’s creation. Our grounds are filled with native, pollinator-friendly plants. The energy, love and passion found at St. Nicholas for the care of the earth and all living things demonstrates faith in action.
The landscaping at St. Nicholas is populated with native plants suitable for their location. There are rain gardens that tolerate life under a downspout and sun gardens that thrive in a dry southern exposure. No chemicals are ever used here, and maintenance is minimal. Priority is given to pollinator-friendly perennials.
The outdoor courtyard in this natural setting is used as a multi-purpose space. Meetings and events are held there, but its main function is a space to meditate, pray, and seek to connect with nature. Many of our neighbors use the space for this purpose as do parishioners.
St. Nicholas is a multi-lingual and multi-cultural parish. Assistance to refugees, individually and as a group, can be provided to those from Spanish speaking countries in their own language and with understanding of their culture.
St. Nicholas partners with other faith-based groups to promote the rights of workers, assist those without food and housing, promote non-violence and push for racial justice.
In partnership with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Nicholas provides food to the hungry in the area and food baskets during the holiday season. A Giving Tree is part of Christmas. Wishes are hung on behalf of those in need, and parishioners assure that every one is fulfilled. They can be as simple as warm gloves for the winter, but they are enough to make lives better.
Mission trips to areas of the country in need of assistance are conducted yearly. Our annual event called “Shoe Box Christmas” benefits the Spirit Lake Native American Reservation in North Dakota. Children often don’t have even the basic grooming items such as a new hairbrush or toothpaste. The parishioners of St. Nicholas provide these gifts and much more.
People with developmental challenges often don’t have the opportunity to fully express their spirituality. The Special Religious Education Development team assists them to participate fully in faith-based sharing. They act as Eucharistic Ministers at SPRED Masses.
Once a month, St. Nicholas works with Second Baptist church to prepare and serve a nutritious hot meal to the homeless of Evanston, God’s children.
Our Hispanic community is especially well positioned to assist new arrivals who settle in this area from Spanish speaking countries. Assistance, if needed, is in the form of housing, food, clothing, job counseling, and extending the warmth of friendship to those who may feel lost in this new culture.
St. Nicholas is an active member of United Catholic Youth Ministries. They are exploring the creation of a composting initiative at St. Nicholas, as well as conducting Laudato Si' seminars and working on the creation of a Youth Garden.