To celebrate nine years of the Laudato Si’ Movement and as the first event of 2024, an online Global Encounter was held, bringing the global community together on the same screen, and simultaneously broadcast from Assisi, Ecuador and the United States.
From the Laudato Si’ Movement’s communications team, Adrianna Friore, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, introduced and led the different segments of the gathering. At the beginning, Lorna Gold, from the LSM Board of Directors, addressed the audience, giving thanks for the year that is just beginning.
The Assisi team was then welcomed. There, Antonio Caschetto and Tomás Insua, who are now working together on the Terra Laudato Si’ project, led a moment of prayer together with the animators and members of the local Circle.
From the United States, Patrick Carolan, co-director of Catholics Vote Common Good, addressed a few words to Tomás Insua, recalling the beginnings of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and his collaboration with people from different corners of the world to create the movement. So did Fran Ludwig, from Boston, leader of the movement’s first chapter, who recalled his first steps, assisted by Tomás.
Messages from around the world came through social media, thanking Tomás for his nine years of service. Chapter leaders from Timor Leste, Nigeria, New York and Ecuador also sent their gratitude to the movement’s former executive director.
Card. Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, was present with a message in which he said, “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done to help Pope Francis and the world fulfill Laudato Si’s promise.”
In turn, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, congratulated Tomás “for having understood that Laudato Si’ should become a reality not only in the hearts and minds of people, but also in their hands, in real-world actions”.
On his part, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, told him, “Thomas, brother, no one has done such intelligent, powerful and beautiful work as you have done. Thank you so much. We look forward to what’s next.
Then Tomás Insua was able to express his appreciation for all the greetings and gratitude received: “I feel that I don’t deserve so much. This was a collaborative effort in which I have helped to facilitate the work, but there have been many who have participated”, he mentioned and added that “it is a great joy to be walking with so many souls; this movement is bigger than us”. At the end, he said: “After such a long time of global work, now it is my turn to do local work”, and made a final farewell.
Christina Leaño, Laudato Si’ Movement’s Associate Director, then introduced Susana Réfega, who is in her first month as executive director and is eager to actively work for the movement’s growth.
Welcome messages from all over the world arrived for Susana. She gave thanks and also had her moment to thank Tomás for his work: “I am very grateful to be in the secretariat to accompany this mission and lead in this new role.”
Finally, Christina Leaño gave news of upcoming activities in the movement: local and national synodal meetings, Laudato Si’ Week, new editions of the Animators’ Program, the Season of Creation and other surprises.
At the conclusion, the friar gave a blessing to all from Assisi and ended with a song. The gathering’s musical moments were led by Matteo Manicardi, Laudato Si’ Animator and singer-songwriter, from Capri, Italy.
WATCH the full First online Global Encounter here: