Next Wednesday, February 8, 2012, the Catholic Coalition for Climate Change will partner with Loyola University New Orleans and offer free and to the public: Catholics and the Climate: Fostering Mission-Based Sustainability, a one-hour webinar beginning at 8:00 pm CST.
Most Reverend William S. Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of Spokane, Honorary Chairperson of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and Past President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will address the centrality of creation for Catholics, the importance of environmental sustainability and the link between sustainability and mission for Catholic institutions. Dan DiLeo, Project Manager with the Coalition, will share the Coalition’s new resource Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.
Participants will then join a Q & A period co-moderated by Thomas Ryan, Ph.D., Director of the Loyola Institute for Ministry at Loyola University New Orleans and Kathleen O’Gorman, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Religion and Education at Loyola. For information about the webinar, how to log in next Wednesday, and the Loyola Institute for Ministry, click here.
At the invitation of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), Coalition staff gave three presentations on Friday, January 27, at the Mission Officer Conference in Washington, D.C. The presentations highlighted the resource Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.
Staff outlined how Catholic colleges and universities can become a Catholic Climate Covenant Partner by institutionally endorsing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. The Coalition and ACCU hope these presentations will encourage schools to join the University of Notre Dame (IN), College of Saint Benedict (MN), Salve Regina University (RI) and Saint Michael’s College (VT) and become a Partner by endorsing the Pledge. Read more about the ACCU Mission Officer Conference here.
For the past ten months, Catholics in the U.S. have been fasting on First Fridays in solidarity with persons living in poverty in the U.S. Food insecurity is also a serious problem globally and is often intensified by climate change. On Friday, February 3 (the first Friday of the month) Catholics can “fast” in solidarity with all those who are food insecure by limiting meal spending to the amount allotted for a family of their size in the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan, which is used as the basis for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps). A handout on the theme of Food Insecurity and Climate Change, for use on Feb. 3, is also available. First Fridays for Food Security will continue on every first Friday through April 6, 2012.
The Record, official student publication of the College of Saint Benedict (CSB), posted an article about the College’s recent endorsement of the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. The article quotes CSB Sustainability Fellow Lindsay Wimmer: [The Pledge] draws a very direct connection between people’s faith and sustainability…People who are really engaged in their faith will have more of a reason to connect with sustainability, think about sustainability and integrate it within their prayer life, their church community or within their youth group or youth ministry.
The article also says: To further integrate sustainability efforts with the Catholic mission, the CSB Sustainability Office recently made its first formal connection with CSB Campus Ministry. Together the CSB Sustainability Office and Campus Ministry have developed a Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar to involve students in an effort to uphold the St. Francis Pledge . . .[S]tudents will receive emails containing a week-by-week calendar comprised of daily challenges for students to undertake during the season of Lent.
Mark Potosnak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Environmental Sciences Program at DePaul University in Chicago, was recently featured in DePaul’s Newsline for his work as a Catholic Climate Ambassador.
Dr. Potosnak discusses how an authentically Catholic approach to creation care and climate change helps him to avoid political and ideological tensions when giving presentations. Additionally, Mark says that he has found the St. Francis Pledge to be a great tool for Catholics wishing to take action on the Church’s climate change message: When I spoke on this issue before I had received the Ambassador training . . . I found that [the positive reception Church teaching] wasn’t translating into action. The St. Francis Pledge is helpful for getting people to think about what to do next.
To inquire about scheduling Dr. Potosnak or one of the 22 other Catholic Climate Ambassadors at your school, parish or arch/diocese, visit the Ambassador webpage.
In his third State of the Union address last Tuesday night, President Obama recapped a tumultuous year on Capitol Hill and laid out his proposals for 2012, calling on Congress to work with him to increase employment and stimulate the economy. Obama highlighted new partnerships that are helping retrain workers for new jobs, saying “It’s time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.”
Entitled “An America Built to Last,” the President’s 64-minute address also touched on a number of other issues, including his hopes that Congress would pass legislation that provided a path to citizenship for those who were brought to the country illegally. In a statement issued in response to the President’s speech, Catholic Charities USA’s President, Fr. Larry Snyder, said it was heartening to hear “the initiatives outlined by President Obama in this evening’s State of the Union speech that have the potential to improve the lives of many.” However, Fr. Snyder added, “we need comprehensive reform of the nation’s service delivery system that is market driven, results oriented and locally controlled, enabling the country to permanently make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty, and establishing accountability for the investment of taxpayer dollars.” For the complete response from CCUSA to the State of the Union, please click here.