Pope Francis calls us to action on ecological issues



Editor’s note: This series takes a deeper look at Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical On the Care for Our Common Home, “Laudato Si’” and his 2021 Platform Goals.

Did you know that, on May 24, 2015, Pope Francis signed an encyclical called “Laudato Si’ – On Care for our Common Home?” Five years later, he announced an Anniversary Year from May 24, 2020, to May 24, 2021, where he encourages a new way of living. During this Anniversary Year, Pope Francis established seven public commitment groups and seven platform goals.

This “grassroots effort” addresses worldwide ecological issues important for today and for future generations. At the end of the Anniversary Year, the Vatican office invites the Church to Laudato Si’ Week, to be held May 16-24, 2021. Laudato Si’ Week is a time to reflect on what the pandemic has taught us, and motivate us ― to help Our Mother Earth together.


Pope Francis’ seven commitment groups are:

  • Families
  • Dioceses
  • Schools
  • Universities/colleges
  • Hospitals/health care centers
  • Businesses/farms
  • Religious orders/provinces.

Each commitment group has the same seven platform goals assigned to them. These are described below as taken generally from the pope’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Cry of the Earth – Our response includes the use of clean renewable energy sources to achieve carbon neutrality. In addition, it promotes biodiversity, clean water, clean air, and healthy soils.

Cry of the Poor – Our response embraces protecting human life from conception to death, and protecting all life on Earth, especially vulnerable groups.

Ecological Economics – Our response addresses fair-trade policies, sustainable production of products, ethical use of resources and investments, and the removal of any economic activities harmful to the planet and to its people.

Simple Lifestyles – Our response praises living a more thoughtful, considerate and simpler lifestyle related to the use of natural resources and energy. It also advocates adopting a more plant-based diet, greater use of public transportation, and not polluting our water, air and soil.

Ecological Education – Our response directs us to rethink and redesign educational curriculum and our schools, and create more ecological awareness, action, and vocations.

Ecological Spirituality – Our response emphasizes God’s creation, encourages more contact with nature, promotes creation-centered liturgical celebrations, and develops more opportunities for ecological catechesis, prayer, retreats, and formation.

Emphasis on Community Involvement and Participatory Action – Our response emphasizes “care for creation” at the local, regional, national and international levels.

To implement these goals, Pope Francis will invite a certain group(s) to begin their 7-year journey in the first year. In subsequent years, he will encourage new groups to begin their journeys. Progress is expected to be exponential, and outstanding awards in each group are planned. Let’s join Pope Francis in “addressing his seven platform goals.”

There is much to do, as described in the websites below from the Vatican; Tri-State Creation Care; Catholic Climate Covenant; and Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The simple question is: What platform goal(s) will you accomplish first?

What can you do?

Dr. Tom Cervone is a deacon at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Evansville, Indiana with 50 years experience in ecology. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University, a Franciscan College. 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.