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
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
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
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.
4. Laudate Deum was released
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
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
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
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
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
“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.