by Steven Salido | Jun 1, 2023
Each May holds special significance for those who strive to protect our planet and promote environmental stewardship. It marks the anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on caring for the environment.
This year, as we celebrated the eighth anniversary of this momentous document, the film “The Letter” took center stage, featuring a variety of events and activities. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of Laudato Si’ Week and the notable initiatives that emerged from it.
Pope Francis’ Message for World Day for the Care of Creation:
One of the most significant events during Laudato Si’ Week was Pope Francis’ presentation of his message for World Day for the Care of Creation. The Pope declared:
“What can we, particularly as Christian communities, do to heal our common home so that it can once again teem with life? We must do this by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.”
This call to action set the tone for the Season of Creation, inspiring individuals and communities to actively engage in safeguarding our planet.
“Start with your neighbor. Start with your friend. Start with your brother and keep passing the word on. You can make your own change that will help the bigger change,” protagonist Robin Martin advised.
The Letter: A Powerful Call to Action
“The Letter,” a poignant documentary, took center stage during Laudato Si’ Week. From the Philippines to Pakistan, to Nigeria and Argentina, audiences across the planet attended over 400 screenings to witness stories of the climate crisis in conversation with Pope Francis.
In a reunion event titled, “Responding to The Letter: Where do we go from here?,” the protagonists of that very documentary gathered online to share how their stories have grown and to express their wake-up call to transition from self-interest to collective responsibility to care for our planet.
Cardinal Czerny’s Call to Action
Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, played a crucial role on Pentecost Sunday by mobilizing Laudato Si’ Animators and encouraging others to join this movement from the Canticle Garden in Assisi, Italy.
Proclaiming himself a Laudato Si’ Animator, Czerny announced, “Each of you has been called to give a response to the message of Laudato Si’. We, filled with the Holy Spirit, have a mandate to go out and proclaim the amazing generosity of God’s Creation.”
The “Assisi: Terra Laudato Si” project, which will formally begin programming in 2024, is the result of a collaboration between the Diocese of Assisi, the Franciscan families (OFM, Conventuals, Capuchins, TOR, Roman VI), the future Laudato Si’ Citadel (currently the “Citadel” of the Pro Civitate Christiana), FAI, and the Municipality of Assisi.
Introducing “Terra Laudato Si’”
Laudato Si’ Week witnessed the unveiling of the “Terra Laudato Si’,” a project by the Bishop of Assisi, Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino. Serving as the new home for the Laudato Si’ Movement, this project in Assisi aims to create a physical space dedicated to advancing the principles and teachings of Laudato Si’. Set to be inaugurated in 2025, “Terra Laudato Si’” will serve as a hub for environmental initiatives, fostering collaboration and inspiring transformative action.
What’s next? Season of Creation!
From the impactful film “The Letter” to Pope Francis’ inspiring message for World Day for the Care of Creation, this event brought people together across the globe to reflect on our responsibility towards the environment. As we look forward, the spirit of Laudato Si’ will continue to guide and inspire us to create a sustainable future for our planet.
In this way, we prepare to let “justice and peace flow” in the upcoming Season of Creation. This Monday, June 5, as we celebrate World Environment Day, the 2023 Celebration Guide will be unveiled in a webinar led by ecumenical religious leaders from around the world. Join us at 9am NYC / 3pm Europe (CET), 9pm Manila time!