We are coming to the end of a very special year for the Laudato Si’ Movement. 2023 was marked by multiple events, many of which highlighted the exhaustive commitment of thousands of people around the world to care for our common home.

In his concern for the climate crisis, Pope Francis issued the apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, inviting us to “care for the infinite love the world sings of” (LD 65); the film The Letter reached millions of people and we prayed the Via Creationis prayer in St. Peter’s Square for the first time.

Our top 10 most important highlights of the year:

1. The Letter film was screened at WYD in front of millions of people
World Youth Day was held in Lisbon from August 1 to 6. Millions of young people gathered in the Portuguese capital to share their faith and meet Pope Francis. A group of volunteers from the Laudato Si’ Movement contributed to the event’s carbon footprint reduction.

The most significant moment occurred during the final night’s prayer vigil, where the film The Letter was screened before a million and a half young people present at the Campo de la Gracia. Watch how that moment unfolded:

2. We have a new Executive Director
In February 2023, Tomás Insua, who was Laudato Si’ Movement’s executive director for eight years and its co-founder, announced a change of direction in his role, dedicating his future efforts to new projects within the Movement, including Terra Laudato Si’.

For this reason, and after an arduous selection process, Susana Réfega, from Portugal, was announced to the community as the new Executive Director, beginning in January 2024.

3. Terra Laudato Si' project launched
On Pentecost Sunday, at the closing of Laudato Si’ Week, the Bishop of Assisi, Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino, announced the new project Assisi: Terra Laudato Si’, which was blessed by Cardinal Michael Czerny.

Although it will formally begin in 2024, the project will allow those working in the field of integral ecology and pilgrims visiting Assisi to experience the Franciscan sites with activities involving training, gathering and spirituality in creation.

Read more about Terra Laudato Si’

4. Laudate Deum was released
On October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and closing of the Season of Creation, Francis gave us a new text as an update of what was said in the encyclical Laudato Si’, published eight years ago.

The press conference in the Vatican Gardens hosted a variety of voices and testimonies on the climate crisis; and there was also an online event led by personalities from faith, policy and science, in which the new document was unveiled, and key points explained.

WATCH: Laudate Deum Launch Event

5. Pope Francis' message for the Season of Creation was released during Laudato Si' Week
A new Laudato Si’ Week was held from May 21 to 28, which was highlighted by the number of screenings of the film The Letter in communities and parishes around the world, in addition to many other events and activities.

One of the most significant events of the week was the presentation of Pope Francis’ message for Creation Day at a press conference. The Pope stated, “What can we, especially as Christian Churches, do to heal our common home so that it may once again teem with  life?”

WATCH: Laudato Si’ Week Summary

6. We prayed the Via Creationis for the first time during the Season of Creation
From September 1st to October 4th we celebrated a new Season of Creation that began with the Feast of Creation and brought together Christians from different denominations around the world to pray and act for our common home, making a river of peace and justice flow.

On September 30, as part of the ecumenical season, the prayer of the Via Creationis, a new prayer inspired by the Way of the Cross to celebrate and contemplate Creation, with seven stations that contemplate the seven days of Genesis, took place in St. Peter’s Square.

PRAY the Via Creationis with this video guide

7. Dubai COP 28, with petition and during Advent
To conclude the year, the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) was held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12. As it coincided with the Advent season, we joined our efforts in action and prayer for the leaders participating in the COP.

The Laudato Si’ Movement delegation present in Dubai delivered a petition to Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates, President of COP 28, demanding concrete commitments and actions during the conference.

8. Committed institutions, people in action
As part of the year’s advocacy campaigns, religious institutions were once again invited to commit to divestment. But, in addition, all people of good will were involved, inviting them to change their bank to one that contributes to the care of the environment. Because wherever your treasure is, your heart will also be.

In turn, the Laudato Si’ Movement became an official observer organization to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

9. Animators: revamped website and on-demand program

The Laudato Si’ Animators Program was renewed under the theme “Fall in Love > Protect > Transform”, as the three steps of personal ecological conversion to begin training as a Laudato Si’ Animator and become a reference in a community.

In 2023, courses were offered in 7 languages (Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish and Hungarian), training nearly 40.000 animators worldwide. In addition, the program started to have an “on-demand” version, i.e., leaving it up to the student to take the course at the desired time.

10. Pope Benedict's legacy
On December 31, 2022, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away. His passing reminded us of the great ecological legacy that “the green pope” has left us, by reviewing the three questions that explain why he was given this name.

“The external deserts in the world are growing because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth’s treasures no longer serve to build God’s garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction,” he said during his inaugural homily in April 2005.