Photo credit: Vatican News

The year 2021 has been one of great growth for all of Laudato Si’ Movement. This movement was the Global Catholic Climate Movement for six years, and after an 18-month synodal process of discernment, we found a simpler and more effective name for the movement.

In addition to the incredible moments of Laudato Si’ Week and the Season of Creation, hundreds of thousands of Catholics advocated for our common home and our most vulnerable sisters and brothers by signing and sharing the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition ahead of the United Nations’ 26th Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

Thousands of Laudato Si’ Animators were trained and encouraged to create their own Laudato Si’ Circles in their communities, and Global Laudato Si’ Monthly Prayer Gatherings became special moments that nurtured our eco-spirituality. So much more happened as well!

1. We changed our name!

After a long and intentional journey of discernment, which began in October 2019, on 29 July 2021, the Global Catholic Climate Movement changed its name to Laudato Si’ Movement.

“Same movement, fewer words, more Laudato Si’,” was how the new name was described during the online announcement that was attended by thousands. The changes, which were  endorsed by Pope Francis, also include better defined values and a more concrete mission.

In the words of Cardinal Michael Czerny, Under-secretary of the Section for Migrants of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: “So when we name the movement now, every time we name it, we’re saying a prayer: Laudato Si’.”

2. Pope Francis’ prophetic leadership

In August, we had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis in a private audience. We remain extremely grateful for the opportunity.

The Pope “asked us to engage in a deep dialogue with the peripheries” and “made us understand what it really means to have moved from being the Global Catholic Climate Movement to the Laudato Si’ Movement,” said Lorna Gold, Chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement Board of Directors.

Before beginning the Season of Creation, Pope Francis greeted the Laudato Si’ Movement at the Angelus on Sunday, 30 August: “Thank you for your commitment to the common home.”

At the General Audience on Wednesday, 1 September, a delegation of Laudato Si’ Movement presented Francis with an “Abraham tent” made from recycled materials. 

Like his message on Earth Day, in which he told us that “God always forgives, we humans forgive from time to time, nature never does”; or on Food Day in which he called on large corporations “to stop destroying nature”, His Holiness spoke out numerous times in 2021 about caring for creation in a meaningful way.

In the weeks leading up to COP26, Francis spoke out multiple times, highlighting the importance of world leaders taking urgent action during the Glasgow summit. The meeting with the leaders of different religions and the joint appeal to governments were notable.

3. Bringing the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition to COP26

The Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition united Catholics to raise their voices and address the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

During COP26, the LSM delegation in Glasgow delivered the petition signatures of more than 130,000 Catholics and 425 partner organizations, supporting Pope Francis’ call for urgent action to care for our common home.

4. Laudato Si’ Week

On the sixth anniversary of the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’, thousands of Catholics around the world celebrated Laudato Si’ Week together.

Inspired by the theme, “For we know things can change” (LS 13), 10 days of events and activities, both global and regional, showcased the diversity of charisms and identities that make up the movement.

Catholics came together with hope and a fervent belief that together we can create a better future for all members of creation. A photo contest, an artists’ festival for creation, divestment commitments, dialogues and more were all celebrated during the moving week.

5. The ecumenical celebration of the Season of Creation

The eumenical season that each year brings together Christians of different confessions from 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, until 4 October, Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. This year, thousands of Christians built “Abraham tents.” The first one was the one received by the Pope.

This year’s Season of Creation theme “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God,” brought Catholics together with our Christian brothers and sisters around the world to pray and act for our common home.

WATCH: What is Oikos?

Pope Francis was once again in the spotlight when he brought together Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, to issue a historic joint statement.

Communities were committed to gathering signatures for the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition and organized numerous events to take action and pray together.

6. Record number of institutions committed to divestment

This year saw the largest divestment announcements by faith-based institutions worldwide. In May, 36 institutions from 11 countries made a joint fossil fuel divestment announcement ahead of the G7 summit. The group included the Church in Wales and the dioceses of Bristol Oxford, the first dioceses in England to divest.

Subsequently, in October, prior to COP26, the divestment announcement was even greater. It featured 72 religious institutions, resulting in $4.2 billion of combined assets under management that they committed to divest.

“Gradually we realized that it was not enough to support the current status quo. We have to move,” said Bishop Bill Nolan, the Lead Bishop on the Environment for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

7. Sowing eco-spirituality around the world

#LaudatoSiLent helped us start the year with a daily resolution and a week-by-week itinerary with five different types of fasting: from shopping, from meat, from electricity, from plastics, and from silence.

In addition, each month we continue to enrich our eco-spirituality through the Laudato Si’ Encounter, a free monthly resource ideal for Laudato Si’ Circles to share with friends and family.

The Global Laudato Si’ Monthly Prayer Gathering brought us together every first Friday of the month, each time accompanied by a different region. Everyone participated, including Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Africa, Portuguese-speaking countries and Spanish speaking countries! Watch all of our prayer gatherings on our YouTube channel. 

8. Laudato Si’ Action Platform to bring Laudato Si’ to life

At the conclusion of Laudato Si’ Week, Pope Francis spoke for the first time about the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a space for individuals and communities to bring Laudato Si’ to life in a seven-year process.

Operated by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and supported by Laudato Si’ Movement, the platform seeks to empower Catholic institutions, communities, and families to implement Laudato Si’ in a practical way and inspire others to seek out the encyclical.

“Let us cultivate respect for the gifts of the Earth and creation, let us inaugurate an ultimately eco-sustainable lifestyle and society. We have the opportunity to prepare a better tomorrow for all. From God’s hands we have received a garden, we cannot leave a desert to our children,” Pope Francis said.

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9. Praying for creation as a network

The Creation Care Prayer Network is an initiative to come together in prayer for the people and species most affected by climate and ecological injustice. Already more than 200 religious and lay contemplative communities have joined this network with a commitment to pray for the healing of our common home.

Laudato Si’ Movement Associate Director Christina Leaño said, “Our common home urgently needs our prayers. Pope Francis calls us all to ‘repair the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.’ By facilitating this network, we hope to unite Catholics and inspire communities around the world to pray earnestly for all of creation.”

10. Truly, we have grown!

This year has certainly been a year of great growth for LSM. The Laudato Si’ Animator trainings have brought together almost 9,000 people, with a total of 2,169 certified animators from 67 countries.

Laudato Si’ circles have grown to 801 in 37 countries, with 284 new ones in 2021, while country chapters now total 40. In addition, we have added 75 new member organizations, bringing the total to 850.

Some examples of the great activity that has taken place are reflected in LSM’s weekly podcast, in English and Spanish, with diverse stories from around the world, such as the story of the Laudato Si’ family from Hondurasfaithful in Vietnam committing to the petition, or cartoonists encouraging an ecological conversion.

Thank you for making this possible!

From everyone at Laudato Si’ Movement, we want to thank you for being part of this 2021, marked by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We thank you for having participated in our online dialogues, in the monthly prayers, in the global events and for having accompanied this movement with your prayers.

We thank our Creator God and pray that we will continue to bring Laudato Si’ to life around the world and help people undergo their ecological conversion and care for our common home as never before in 2022.