One year after hosting the first Catholic Youth Climate Summit, students at Saint Viator High School are working with their peers at Chicago-area Catholic high schools to bring it back. The Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant announced Wednesday that the climate summit is returning Feb. 26 to Saint Viator.
Last year’s summit drew 65 students from different Catholic high schools, and organizers hope for even more this year. Their commitment is real. They are drawn out of a concern for the environment, but as Catholic high school students they feel a call to respond to Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home, the encyclical published in 2015 by Pope Francis.
“Our Catholic youth are naturally invested in becoming leaders and evangelizers on climate action and care for common home and future,” says Kayla Jacobs, Catholic Climate Covenant’s Youth Mobilization Program Manager. “We want to support and bolster their faith-filled and passionate voice in their parishes, schools, families, and communities.”
Viatorian Associate Jason Wilhite is working with student organizers to lineup scientists, teachers and environmental activists to address the summit. Ultimately their goal is to inspire their peers to become environmental stewards, leaders and advocates — and give them tangible tools to develop and carry out action plans.
“Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a growing number of students concerned about the environment,” Jason said after last year’s inaugural summit, “who are planning to study sustainability in college, and inviting us as campus ministers and Viatorians to do more to care for creation with them.”