Editor’s note: This series takes a deeper look at Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical － On Care for Our Common Home, Laudato Si’
Do you know how important you are? For every stewardship decision you make, you change and impact the world! As good and faithful stewards, and as a Christian community, we are required to praise, seek and follow God in everything we do because He is guiding us to do the best for our planet Earth. It should not be a one-day-a-year event on Earth Day. It should be a daily requirement of our faith according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which says that, in that requirement, “We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship in protecting people and the planet, and to live our relationship with all of God’s creation.”
Our paths in life require us to recognize a universal “sense of responsible stewardship (Laudato Si’, 116) … directing us to be stewards of all creation (Laudato Si’, 236).” In detail, our stewardship follows what St. Teresa of Avila teaches us: “Christ has no body now but yours.” Archbishop Patrick O’Regan says that most of us don’t realize that, “all we have and all that we are is a gift from God. When we realize this, then our role changes from (ownership) to care and look after.” We truly are the caregivers of all creation and Earth; and everything you do, Jesus does through you. .
In Indiana alone, natural disasters have more than tripled and costs have doubled. This significant increase in “billion-dollar disasters” is linked to global warming from the emission of greenhouse gases. The Evansville Climate Action Plan 2021 in Vanderburgh County (Source: Purdue University Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment, page 28) reports:
- In 1981-2000, we had 17 events totaling $5-10 billion.
- While in 2001-2020, we had 55 events totaling $10-20 billion (NOAA Temperature Time Series).
Pope Francis calls all religions and the secular world to partner on care for our common home, with Cardinal Robert McElroy emphasizing how fragile the Earth is in many places of the world. TheLetterFilm/watch, released in the U.S. on 6/9/20, reported how indigenous communities still maintain 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, and that, by 2050, experts predict there could be as many as 1.2 billion people displaced by climate change. As of November 2022, the world population is reported at 7.98 billion (World Population Clock).
As responsible caregivers of all creation and Earth, we should leave this world more beautiful and bountiful than it was when we inherited it. Let’s bring goodness and kindness, and preserve our Mother Earth. Praise be to you, my Lord, for all of the blessings you have bestowed upon us, and help us continue our Care for Our Mother Earth.
What can we do?
- Join a group that focuses on methods to better our land, water and air quality
- Make “green” improvements to your property
“Good stewardship of the environment is not just a personal responsibility; it is a public value... Our duty is to use the land well, and sometimes not to use it at all. This is our responsibility as citizens, but more than that, it is our calling as stewards of the earth” (Former President George W. Bush).
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.