Showcasing the strength of the Catholic movement to care for creation, hundreds of thousands of Catholics participated in Laudato Si’ Week 2021, a 10 day-celebration held from 16-25 May.
Catholics, inspired by the week’s theme, “for we know that things can change” (LS 13), joined online Laudato Si’ Dialogues and hosted events in their communities that helped their sisters and brothers deepen their knowledge of Pope Francis’ hopeful but urgent message in Laudato Si’.
Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said: “The powerful Laudato Si’ Week 2021 shows again how Catholics are committed to caring for our common home and following Pope Francis’ prophetic leadership. More than ever, people of faith understand that we must nurture our common home, and that in doing so, we’re caring for the most vulnerable among us and lifting up the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”
The Rev. Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Head of the Vatican's Ecology and Creation Office, said: “It’s inspiring to see how the Holy Spirit is moving the global Church to care for our common home and all members of creation.”
After concluding the Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year, Catholics now will turn their attention to the Season of Creation, the annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action for our common home, held from 1 September through 4 October.
Communities across the globe will start planning how they can pray, take action, and advocate for our common home with the free Season of Creation Celebration Guide, available at SeasonOfCreation.org. A one-page overview of the season can also be found here.
Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, reminded Catholics of Pope Francis’ invitation for them to join the global Christian family in celebrating the season.
“We also encourage bishops and ecclesial bodies to make statements to raise awareness about the Season of Creation,” Duffé wrote. “This Season of Creation will also be a critical moment for Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf ahead of two important summits, the UN Summit on Biodiversity (COP 15) in October and the UN Climate Summit in November (COP 26).”
To that end, the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition was launched during Laudato Si’ Week. Catholics and their institutions are encouraged to sign the petition that will ask world leaders to establish meaningful agreements that will repair our common home.
Catholics’ efforts will be aided by the new Laudato Si’ Action Platform. The Vatican-led effort will empower Catholic institutions, communities, and families to implement Laudato Si’ and was officially launched today. A new website, LaudatoSi.va, has been published to support the initiative.
“The Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a journey towards total sustainability in the spirit of integral ecology,” the Rev. Kureethadam said.
During Laudato Si’ Week, tens of thousands of people participated in the global Laudato Si’ Dialogues that featured lively conversations about creating change ahead of UN summits later this year, Catholics’ “moral imperative” to divest from fossil fuels, and how Catholics and their institutions can undergo an ecological conversion, among other topics.
A Laudato Si’ music festival and a missionary-like sending of the faithful to spread the Gospel of Creation around the world were also attended by tens of thousands. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, led the Pentecost prayer gathering/missionary sending.
The global events featured declarations and challenges from cardinals, Vatican leaders, bishops, and religious sisters. They highlighted the diversity of the Church, with leaders from the Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Paraguay, USA, and India taking part, and the events showcased those who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, including José Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, general coordinator of the Congress of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin.
Locally, nearly 200 events were registered on LaudatoSiWeek.org throughout the world, a growth of more than 200 percent compared to Laudato Si’ Week 2020. Those events truly gave the celebration meaning. Additionally, this year’s celebration was aided by 157 Catholic partners worldwide, compared to 137 in 2020.
Tomás Insua, executive director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said: “Catholics know that taking action against the ecological crisis and climate emergency is how we live out our faith.”
Online and throughout social media, Catholics amplified Pope Francis’ message. Page views on LaudatoSiWeek.org increased nearly 1,500 percent, and social media interactions grew by 170 percent compared to 2020. Pope Francis led the way, tweeting about #LaudatoSiWeek throughout the celebration.
Sr. Sheila Kinsey, the executive co-secretary for the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission, a project of the International Union of Superiors General. said: “Laudato Si' Week was a deeply enriching time spiritually. The tremendous inspiration of the message of hope of Laudato Si' continues to energize people to action around the globe.”
Laudato Si’ Week 2021 was sponsored by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and facilitated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement in collaboration with RENOVA+, Caritas Internationalis, CIDSE, International Union Superiors General, Union of Superiors General, Society of Jesus, the General office for justice, peace, and integrity of creation from the Order from the Franciscan Friars, and in partnership with dozens of Catholic partners. More information can be found at LaudatoSiWeek.org.