Stewards of the Earth
The solemn season of Lent is a time of penance and fasting-the perfect setting for reflection on our struggle to address the root causes of poverty and injustice, which can at times leave us weary. Consider using one or more of the below tools to aid your reflection during Lent:
- Examination of Conscience in the Light of Catholic Social Teaching can be used to supplement your regular examination. It is available in both English and Spanish.
- During Lent, use the Penance resource from the “Sacraments and Social Mission” series to help Catholics reflect on this sacrament as an opportunity to reestablish right relationship with God and others, and to recognize their participation in the “structures of sin” which degrade others’ lives and dignity.
- Catholic Charities USA is offering daily Lenten reflections 2012 Lent/Easter Reflections based on the daily Mass readings between February 22 and April 14. Get more information and sign up for the daily emails here.
- The Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty has a number of Lenten resources available, including a Good Friday reflection and several prayers to end the use of the death penalty.
Lent 4.5 takes advantage of people’s desire to do something more for Lent: encouraging participants to pray and learn about ways to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice, and nurture their own spirituality. The seven-week Lenten program provides your parish or congregation with a new approach to the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Check out the video (scroll down to bottom of their website) explaining the program.
CRS Operation Rice Bowl
Catholic Relief Services invites you to do something more during Lent, by offering simple but powerful ways to help us return to a right relationship with God and bring our Catholic faith to life. Through CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl, you can pray, fast and give alms for the poor around the world who are served by CRS while living out our call to serve the hungry, the poor, and the lonely.
- Read daily reflections and weekly stories from beneficiaries of CRS’ programs in the Lenten Calendar.
- Prepare one of the recipes of simple, meatless meals from different countries each Friday during Lent.
- Sign-up to receive the Weekly Reflections each Monday for a deeper experience during your Lenten journey.
Work of Human Hands’ gorgeous new Spring Collection is online now. Browse their unique porch decor, bright kitchen textiles, beautiful baskets, and fabulous new accessories. Also available is delicious Divine Easter Chocolate. Try the new Milk Chocolate Praline Mini Eggs, Dark Chocolate Bunnies, Milk Chocolate Bunnies, and more! Every purchase you make supports values of collaboration, transparency, sustainable development, and improved quality of life for low-income artisans and farmers in developing regions. Plus, your purchase contributes to the CRS Fair Trade Fund. Shop today for high quality, beautiful products that promote justice, peace, and human dignity.
Catholics Confront Global Poverty
Lent gives us six weeks to enter deeply into the work of returning and rebuilding a loving relationship with God and with other people; however, the season can still get away from us. We have a few days between Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday of Lent to prepare ourselves to enter into this holy season. And that’s good, because we have a little groundwork to do before we can begin our Lenten practices in earnest.
First we need to make some time. In the remaining days before the first Sunday of Lent, set aside time to be truly present for your prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Commit to a regular time of reflection each day. Set aside a journal for writing your prayers and insights. Review the Catholics Confront Global Poverty and Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl websites, and plan out how you will reflect on issues that affect the human family during Lent. And finally, be aware of the stories of Easter hope that lie among the Lenten ashes.
This summer in California, three leading Franciscan scholars will offer a two-week course titled, “Creation, Humanity and Science in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition.” Br. Keith Warner, OFM, Br. Bill Short, OFM, and Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, will present the course from July 29-Aug 12, 2012, at Old Mission Santa Barbara, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. This short course reflects the desire of the Franciscan School of Theology to bring the best intellectual resources from the Franciscan tradition to bear on stewardship, spirituality and environmental justice. Click below for a brochure of the program: http://webpages.scu.edu/ftp/kwarner/Fran-CHSnov9.pdf
People have debated for years whether or not man-made manufacturing of pollutants has contributed to global climate change. However, the New York Times reports in their Health blog section that three new studies have recently come out showing that high air pollution is at least having a negative impact on our nation’s health, if not our environment.
Writing about this at US Catholic online, Liz Lefvbre wonders if it is time to start driving our cars less often, especially during Lent, and switching as best we can to public transportation. Or do we think that driving less isn’t a realistic option for many Americans? US Catholic has created an online survey about our American culture’s car addiction. See more about this blog and survey here.
The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media recently published an extended article titled The Catholic Church and Climate Change. The piece points out that the Catholic Church hierarchy, beginning with the Pope more than two decades ago, has framed climate change as a moral issue involving ‘the future of God’s creation’ and one best viewed through four principles guiding Catholics’ worldview . . . acting with a sense of prudence in the face of uncertainty; protecting the poor and most vulnerable; working toward a common good; and promoting human solidarity — with one another and with future generations.
The article describes how scientists need the faith community to reach ‘minds and hearts’ and spotlights the Coalition in its section on Climate Activism in the U.S. The piece quotes Dan Misleh and Catholic Climate Ambassador Anthony Strawa, Ph.D., who is also an atmospheric scientist at NASA Ames Research Center and chair of the Catholic Green Initiative in the Diocese of San Jose, CA.
The Coalition is proud to announce that Mercyhurst University (founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy in Erie, PA) has become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner by endorsing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.
In a University press release announcing the Partnership, Mercyhurst President Tom Gamble said, “By becoming partners in the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, Mercyhurst continues a longstanding commitment toward sustainability and environmental stewardship in a way that is consistent with our mission and a Catholic value system that focuses on the impact of climate change on the poor and vulnerable in our world.”
Mercyhurst is well known as a leader in sustainability among U.S. colleges and universities. Besides academic initiatives, like a new major in sustainability studies, Mercyhurst maintains ongoing projects in the areas of recycling and energy conservation, including the use of wind power to meet 100 percent of its electric needs.
In 2007, Gamble joined several hundred college and university presidents in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which obligates Mercyhurst to a goal of carbon neutrality. Learn more about Mercyhurst’s extensive Catholic mission-based sustainability efforts here.
The Coalition is proud to announce that Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN) has become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner by endorsing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Founded in 1857, Saint John’s University (SJU) is an all-male Benedictine institution which works in close partnership with the all-female College of Saint Benedict (St. Joseph, MN). The College of Saint Benedict (CSB) recently became the first Catholic college in Minnesota to become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner.
Assistant to the President Patti Epsky, who said in The Record, SJU’s school newspaper: “The values and goals described in the St. Francis Pledge mirror those that are so much a part of the heritage of Saint John’s.”
St. John’s also contributed to the publication of the Coalition’s collaborative resource, Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration. Learn more about SJU’s broad Catholic mission-based sustainability efforts here.
The Diocese of Westminster in London, England has published a new resource to help the its 214 parishes more fully care for God’s Creation. On its Justice and Peace webpage, a leaflet, ‘Our Environmental Mission,’ provides suggestions on how Catholics can learn more about the Catholic faith and its message for creation. It also includes a range of practical ideas on caring for the natural world through living simply and sustainably.
Fr Joe Ryan, Chair of the Diocese of Westminster’s Justice and Peace Commission says, “Our Environmental Mission’ provides a succinct summary of the theology concerning care for God’s creation as well as some easily achievable activities which parishes can carry out. The leaflet includes suggested actions for the diocese, for our parishes and for individual parishioners. Also included are links to other resources and websites which will allow parishes to work for the common good of God’s creation and learn more about the Catholic Faith and its message for caring for the Earth, our home.”
The resource is available for free download at the Diocesan Justice and Peace webpage (scroll to bottom).
The Catholic Sentinel, official publication of the Archdiocese of Portland, OR, reports that the National Catholic Student Coalition (NCSC) has elected Fiona Corner, a senior international affairs major from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, as its next chairperson.
Ms. Corner previously served as the NCSC’s West Region Chairperson, and was instrumental in NCSC’s co-sponsorship of the collaborative resource Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration. Shortly after the Toolkit was published in September 2011, Ms. Corner and outgoing NCSC President Joe Ewing sent a letter to NCSC members encouraging them to implement and promote the Toolkit and the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.
As collegiate student leaders in the United States of America, the National Catholic Student Coalition strives to empower students to further the mission of the Catholic Church through spiritual, educational and leadership opportunities. NCSC strives to aid students to form their identity as Catholics and strengthen its role as the voice of Catholic collegians to the bishops, Church, and world at large. Learn more here.
President Obama’s administration’s decision to require even religious institutions to provide coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S 1467, H 1179) especially urgent. Write to your legislators to ensure that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected. Letters can be sent by clicking here.