“Laudato Si’, the Season of Creation Celebration with Bishop Jaime Soto,” on Sept. 9 at St. Anthony Parish in Winters, was the kickoff event for a multi-year reflection and action plan in response to Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical.
The bishop noted that this time for creation offers individual believers and communities an opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork he has entrusted to people’s care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which people live. “This is a long marathon, not a sprint,” Bishop Soto noted. “And we draw upon the Lord Jesus in our efforts, as he is always with us.”
Panelists speaking at the event about care for creation were Father Loreto Rojas, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Sacramento and former faculty member at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University; NJ Mvondo, a writer, activist and social entrepreneur based in Davis; and Jonathan London, professor in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology and Community and Regional Development.
During the fall, parish pastoral councils are dedicating a meeting to reflect upon local parish application of Laudato Si’ as part of the Care for Our Common Home action plan developed by the diocese’s Office of Catholic Charities and Social Concerns.
Following the method used to implement Bishop Jaime Soto’s 2021 pastoral letter, “Call to Holiness,” as well as the process used for the Synod for Synodality consultation, parishes received agenda and reflection materials to help pastoral council members study and reflect on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis gave voice to the concept of integral ecology, which emphasizes the deep connections between people’s relationships with each other and the Lord Jesus as members of his one body, as well as all creation. The faithful are called to rediscover in awe and wonder the beauty of creation, and at the same time, respond to the cry of the earth.
In May 2021, Pope Francis invited the whole of the world to take up with renewed vigor the challenge of rescuing and caring for the earth, our common home, by promulgating the seven goals of the Laudato Si’ action platform. Pastors and parish pastoral councils are currently reviewing and studying the Holy Father’s action plan.
The Response to the Cry of the Earth is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we equitably address the prolonged droughts, destructive wildfires, extreme weather and other natural calamities provoked by changes in the climate.
The Response to the Cry of the Poor is a call to defend human life from conception to death, and all the many parts of the fabric of life on earth.
Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is part of human society and affects the ecology of humanity and nature.
The Adoption of a Simple, Sustainable Lifestyle grounded in the value of good stewardship of ourselves and the planet.
Ecological Education is about helping children, young people and adults learn the Christian values and habits to be co-creators and good stewards in caring for our own bodies, defending human life, and living in harmony with creation.
An Incarnational Ecological Spirituality springs from a profound ecological and spiritual conversion rooted in Christ Jesus, who is the firstborn of a new creation. Jesus – the Word of God who shared in our created nature – helps us to discover the sacramental nature of all things: in the beauty of creation and in the cry of the poor, and the groans of creation wounded by the exploitation of sin and human pride. Whenever we gather for the Eucharist, we unite with all heaven and earth to give praise and thanks to God through Christ Jesus.
Community Resilience and Empowerment envisage a synodal journey of community engagement and participatory action at various levels.
In photo above, Bishop Jaime Soto speaks to attendees of the "Season of Creation" event on Sept. 9.