May 30, 2017 // Special
St. Pius Creation Care Team lives out ‘Laudato Si’
“Know the creator through creation.” — Pope Francis
This simple phrase personifies the actions of the Creation Care Team at St. Pius X in Granger. Each year, this fairly new ministry looks to find ways to educate fellow parishioners on how they can live out their faith through caring for the environment while also helping the parish with reducing its own carbon footprint.
“I have always felt a spiritual connection with the Earth and all its natural wonders,” said Delaina Wilkin, one of the St. Pius Creation Care Team members. “I truly feel the power of God’s creation when I gaze at majestic mountains, blue oceans and the diversity of life on our planet. God has entrusted us with caring for creation, and I have long felt the call to protect this precious gift. As a relatively new Catholic — I went through RCIA three years ago — I wanted to grow in my faith and participate more in parish ministries. I learned about the Creation Care Team when I picked up a carbon fasting calendar for Lent: I was so excited to join a parish ministry with a mission to help our parish follow the pope’s teaching in ‘Laudato Si: Care for our Common Home.’”
Wilkin’s words ring true for many parishioners who choose to join the Creation Care Team ministry. Creation Care Teams are outreach groups overseen by the Catholic Climate Covenant, a nonprofit started by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006. The CCC was launched “to address growing ecological awareness and the need to implement Catholic social teaching on ecology within the U.S. Church.” The creation of the CCC was inspired by the USCCB’s 2001 statement on climate change and supported by 16 national partners, Including Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association.
Creation Care Teams can play a role in their parishes in a number of ways. St. Pius X’s team recently held a successful Earth Day event focused on educating parish members on conserving energy while also saving money. It hosted a local homeowner who spoke about his net-neutral house, and members handed out locally made popsicles and featured eco-friendly kids’ activities.
In the past, the team has also hosted a feast of St. Francis Day event, regularly posted faith-based eco-living tips in the church bulletin and worked with the parish to find new ways to reduce its emissions.
In order to ensure a focus both on the environment and on the shared faith of the team, a member reads from “Laudato Si” at each one of the team’s bi-weekly meetings.
“Joining the Creation Care Team at St. Pius X has had a huge impact on me,” stated Wilkins. “It led me to read ‘Laudato Si,’ which has made me more deeply connected with God’s word, the pope’s teachings and my faith.
“At several of our meetings we viewed educational videos and webinars provided by The Catholic Climate Covenant,” she added. “I have learned how climate change is adversely affecting many of the poorest populations around the world. Right now, people are losing their homes and livelihoods. Climate change is a human rights problem that as Catholics we are called to serve.”
Catholic Climate Covenant CEO Dan Misleh believes strongly in the importance of parishioner outreach as it relates to the CCC’s mission. “Parish Creation Care Teams are often the real catalyst for a community-wide embrace of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter…” he pointed out. “The team can help integrate creation care projects and themes throughout the life of the parish, and help answer questions like, how might we celebrate these themes in our liturgies and formation programs? How can we reduce our energy and water consumption as well as reduce waste and make these activities public, teachable moments not only for our parish community but for our neighbors? How can we capture and direct the natural enthusiasm of our young people and encourage their leadership?”
The Catholic Climate Covenant is open to having more parishes on board. Visit the CCC’s website at http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/cct for more information, and talk with a pastor about the possibility.
As Pope Francis stated, “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”
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