This month marks the fifth anniversary of the publishing of Laudato Si’, the encyclical written by Pope Francis, on the care for our common home. Fittingly, the anniversary comes at a time when the world is experiencing a history-defining crisis.
In response, Pope Francis invited Catholics to join in a worldwide celebration of Laudato Si’ Week, which suggests the teachings in the encyclical could be an inspiration during moments of difficulty. He encourages Catholics to come together in solidarity for a more just and sustainable future.
With a goal of putting reflection into action, here are some tangible ways Viatorians are working toward that sustainable future:
- The Viatorian Community Garden, on the grounds of the Province Center, has been growing vegetables for area food pantries since 2012, including more than 800 pounds last year alone. This month, gardeners returned to the raised plots to begin planting this year’s crops.
- St. Viator Parish School in Las Vegas planted vegetables in its school garden for the third year, and its many herbs and vegetables are coming in. Even with e-learning, children are learning about taking care of God’s creation and the benefits of sustainable gardening. During the pandemic, some of its produce is going to school families affected by the crisis.
- Members of St. George Parish in Bourbonnais formed a Garden Club 10 years ago to beautify the parish and add peaceful, contemplative places for parishioners to reflect. Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, puts it this way: “The beautiful grounds of St. George are a place where people can see God through his creation.”
Laudato Si’ has been welcomed as a document of deep and abiding beauty, and it has prompted people around the world to reflect more deeply on God and creation. Its vision of integral ecology — which sees connections between how we treat God, nature, and each other — offers simple but profound truths about the bonds that unite us. In fact, everything is connected.