Pope Francis released a new Apostolic Exhortation, Laudate Deum, calling urgent attention to the climate crisis and highlighting his “heartfelt concerns about the care of our common home.” (2)
Released on October 4, 2023, Laudate Deum is addressed to all people of good will and builds on Laudato Si’, the pope’s 2015 encyclical on the same topic. In addressing the eight years since that encyclical, he writes, “Yet, with the passage of time, I have realized that our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.” (2)
“Laudate Deum amplifies previous calls for urgent climate action at all levels,” said Ann Drevno, Ph.D., sustainability director at Saint Mary’s College of California. “While Saint Mary’s College has made marked strides in climate action through our inaugural Climate Action Plan and the College’s Strategic Plan, Laudate Deum is an important reminder and nudge to continue this critical work. The pope’s message deeply resonates with our Lasallian values — the care for the most marginalized and the care for our common home. Saint Mary’s Office of Sustainability looks forward to partnering with our Lasallian network to expand and deepen our collective commitment.”
Lasallians have expressed a commitment to Laudato Si’, taking it a step further in the seven pathways of transformation that emerged from the 46th General Chapter to help guide the Lasallian family for the next seven years. Pathway four focuses on integral ecological conversion. The pathway recognizes the Lasallian commitment to care for our common home and calls Lasallians to “embrace a broad understanding that leads to overcoming the limits of the socio-economic and political systems and that address the human roots of the ecological crisis.” (Documents of the 46th General Chapter, p. 32) It also commits Lasallians to action, calling for the development and promotion of programs that foster integral ecology.
“We think that part of the problem is that ‘care of our common home’ is not being taught enough to our families, parishes, educational institutions, organizations. As educators we need to take more meaningful steps toward incorporating integral ecology education in the life of our ministries, especially our schools,” shared Brother Gus Sinco, FSC, who leads the Environmental Sustainability Education Initiative (ESEI), a project of the Midwest District supported by the Lasallian Region of North America. “For us to embrace Laudate Deum’s message, it is important to change ourselves first. When we pray ‘Live Jesus in our hearts,’ we are inviting the Lord to touch our hearts and open us to conversion and conviction.”