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Catholics’ Pledge to St Francis

October 11, 2010:

St Francis of Assisi advocates care for creation amongst Catholics

This month saw Catholics reevaluate their relationship with the ecosystem as they celebrated The Feast of St Francis, the Patron Saint of nature.

Principles of prudence, the common good and poverty penetrate Catholic doctrine and, in the period leading up to 4th October, they have increasingly inspired Catholics to review their relationship with the planet.

The example of St Francis demonstrates how to live more fully amongst creation. Dedicating half of every year to a life amongst nature, he contemplated and preached the name of God. This is something that many Catholics feel is missing in contemporary society, which we have allowed to become a barrier between humanity and the rest of the world.

By pledging to learn, pray, assess, act and advocate issues of energy consumption, climate change and individual lifestyle choices, Catholic communities aim to safeguard God’s creation.

These are some of the October 4 actions this year:

1. US Conference of Catholic Bishops

“Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith,” according to the organizers of the US Bishops’ Conference programme “Caring for God’s Creation”.

They launched the Creation Sustainability Ministry in Los Angeles on October 4 to promote ecofriendly life choices amongst local Catholics.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney aims to encourage members of the 288 parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese to contribute to local low-income communities, including assisting improvements in transport services to reduce air pollution.

By founding the Ministry they hope to spread the message to five million Catholics.

2. Pilgrimage from Hungary to Austria

In September the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Europe inspired a five-day Pilgrimage for the Safeguarding of Creation from the Basillica of Esztergon, Hungary to Austria. 50 Bishops and delegates from across Europe took part.

Following Pope Benedict XVI’s World Day of Peace proposal, they warned Europe against the danger of hoarding natural resources in an acknowledgement to global poverty.

The group campaigned for wind and solar power, bio-fuels and hydro technologies. They appealed for joint prayer and reverence for the natural world.

3. Education Board adds Energy Issues

In preparation for the Feast of St Francis, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, UK, announced revisions to the academic criteria for the 2010-2011 school year. Their local Education Board agreed the inclusion of Energy Issues and Climate Change to raise pupils’ awareness and understanding of the environment.

Lessons will highlight the increased impact of climate change on the poor, global and personal solutions, and the urgency with which these actions must be taken.

Further information is available here and additional resources supporting this scheme will be made available during Lent and Easter.

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