Good news about Pope Francis’ ‘Laudato Si”

By Deacon Tom Cervone, Ph.D., Sister Maureen Houlihan, D.C., and Nicole Cervone-Gish, Ed. M.S.

Our Mother Earth

Editor’s note: This series takes a deeper look at Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical On the Care for Our Common Home, “Laudato Si’”.

“On Sept. 5, 2021, more than 200 medical journals released an unprecedented joint editorial that urged world leaders to act. The science is unequivocal, they write. A global increase of 1.5⁰ C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health” (Amy McKeever, National Geographic, 9/9/21).

McKeever continues: “People around the world are witnessing firsthand how climate change can wreak havoc on the planet. Steadily rising average temperatures fuel increasingly intense wildfires, hurricanes, and other disasters that are now impossible to ignore. And while the world has been plunged into a deadly pandemic, scientists are sounding the alarm once more that climate change is still the greatest threat to human health.”

Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, on Sept. 23, 2021: “Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented and some of the changes already set in motion—such as continued sea level rise—are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years.”

To help, the Diocese of Evansville published, in the last year, monthly installments of the “Our Mother Earth” column in The Message (  Titles are:

  • A year of jubilee
  • A team effort of love
  • Pollution, waste and a throwaway culture
  • Water quality wisdom and our commitment for a greener and healthier world
  • The importance of biodiversity
  • The value of forests and trees
  • Pope Francis calls us to action on ecological issues
  • Wetlands, clean air and water, save soil
  • Healthy soils reduce flooding, global warming and run-off
  • Grasslands, pollinators and our health
  • Global warming and climate change
  • Species of greatest conservation need

These articles compliment the “Vatican’s peace and justice office inviting Catholic communities across the world to join a grassroots movement…toward a ‘total sustainability’ in the coming decade, a path that would include carbon neutrality, simpler lifestyles and divestment in fossil fuels.” Also and within “Laudato Si’,” the dicastery outlined a multi-year “Laudato Si'” Action Platform that asks families, dioceses, businesses, farmers, hospitals, schools and others to commit to a seven-year journey toward ecological conversion.

Some others embracing “Laudato Si’” are the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis (  Both suggest ways that individuals, families, schools, and dioceses can help.

There is no wrong way to address Pope Francis’ seven goals. However if we ignore doing anything about them, the planet is at risk. Conversely, if we do what Pope Francis encourages, we can learn, start and follow through with an Action Plan (e.g., the Climate Action Plan for Evansville) that can save our common home. But we need everyone to join the “Noah’s Ark” of caring and loving our brothers and sisters, and all plants, animals and ecosystems.

What can we do? Please review the following websites by typing them into your web browser.

Also, pray for progress in World Climate Summits like the recent World Leaders Summit (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, which concluded Nov. 12. It attracted 197 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Tomás Insua, founding Global Coordinator of the “Laudato Si’” movement, said, on Nov. 2, “Over 100,000 signatures of the Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition, supported by over 400 Catholic organizations, were presented during COP26.”

Dr. Tom Cervone is a deacon at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Evansville, Indiana with 50 years of experience in ecology. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University, a Franciscan University. Sister Maureen Houlihan, D.C. is a support sister on the Seton Harvest Farm started by the Daughters of Charity in response to the Communities - Care of Mother Earth. This CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm grows all natural produce for shareholders and the poor. Nicole Cervone-Gish, Ed. MS. is an award winning ELL (English Language Learner) teacher, who lives in Evansville, Indiana with her family.