“We serve alongside the whole Catholic family, from the hierarchy to the grassroots, from clergy and religious to the laity. We build relationships between the Church and the environmental movement, being “Christian environmentalists” who are environmentalists among Christians and Christians among environmentalists.”

Early Christians, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, had a deep understanding of their calling to incarnate the good news of Jesus Christ in the world, in different contexts, in different cultures. It is what made the apostles understand the need to welcome both Jews and Gentiles, and what made St. Paul an avid pilgrim proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ to different corners of the ancient Middle East. No matter where and no matter with whom, Christians were called to proclaim the Gospel and witness the love of Christ. That is still our call today.

With the new light that Pope Francis sheds through the encyclical Laudato Si’, we are reminded that our call to proclaim the Gospel and witness the love of Christ must necessarily include the proclamation of the Gospel of Creation and the witnessing of the love for Creation (see Chapter 2 of LS). When we profess our faith in God the Father, we must not forget that we are professing our faith in the Creator of all of Creation. Also when we profess our faith in God the Son, we must remember that we are professing our faith in the Redeemer of all of Creation. And when we profess our faith in the Holy Spirit, we are professing our faith in the One who unifies all of Creation in the communion of love intended by the Father and cultivated by the Son. Our trinitarian faith calls us to live according to the dignity of the Creation and communion of love intended by God. 

That is why we are first and foremost Christians who have come to understand through our Christian tradition and Catholic Social Teaching that we must safeguard and love the world in which we live. We have a special calling within the Church, as environmentalists among Christians, to remind our sisters and brothers of the centrality of care for creation in our Christian faith and tradition. This allows for our beautiful challenge of integrating all parts of the Church, from the grassroots communities in all corners of the globe to the institutional structures of each diocese and congregation, so that we may live as a family interconnected through the recognition and mission of caring for Creation, our common home.

This understanding, however, draws us close to many outside the Church as well, to other peoples, movements, religions, and beliefs that hold the care for the environment as a priority. In the world, regardless of faith or beliefs, we are called to remind our sisters and brothers that the environment is a gift to be contemplated, cared for, and protected, and to join forces with those who are already giving their lives for this cause.

As Christians among environmentalists, we are the praising soul that loves our Creator through Creation, through the work of safeguarding it and safeguarding those who are most vulnerable among us, collaborating with all who care for it as well.

Let us be reminded of the words of Christ according to the Gospel of St. John and the Gospel of St. Matthew: “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world” (John 17:18), “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 16:15). 

Let us go to proclaim and witness the Gospel of Creation, in the Church and in the world!