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Editorial | Renewing our relationship with God and the earth

Appeal in Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si” brings hope and resolve

He wrote it addressed to you. It’s five years later, but it’s still relevant.

“Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home)” is the appeal from Pope Francis addressed to “every person living on this planet” for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path.

The encyclical is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common future with candor and humility.

It’s time to get to work if you haven’t already done so.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve seen some really awful things with sickness, death and job loss. But we’ve also seen fewer contaminants in the atmosphere. We want the economy to rebound, and with a cleaner environment in mind.

The ecological crisis, Pope Francis writes, is a summons to profound interior conversion — to renew our relationships with God, one another and the created world. We are connected to the rest of the human family, to the created world and to those who will come after us in future generations.

People in poverty have contributed least to climate change, the pope explains, yet they are disproportionately impacted by it. As a result of excessive use of natural resource by wealthy nations, those who are poor experience pollution, lack of access to clean water, hunger and more. We are one human family and have a shared responsibility for others and for creation.

Pope Francis calls for a change in lifestyle and consumption.

Where can you start?

• Get a reusable water bottle, take shorter showers, ride a bike, take public transportation, recycle, compost food waste, and buy energy-efficient appliances.

• Make changes at your parish, school or workplace. For example, start recycling and composting, use washable dinnerware in cafeterias, share electronically instead of printing, do an energy audit and install solar panels.

• Support local efforts to solve environmental problems. Find out what is going on locally and get involved. Contact your members of Congress to share Pope Francis’ message and urge action to address climate change.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the encyclical, Pope Francis invites Catholics to participate in Laudato Si’ Week, a nine-day global campaign taking place May 16-24. Sign up to receive daily reflections from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with ways to pray, learn, and act to care for God’s creation at www.bit.ly/35B0lkh.

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