By Sister Karen Donahue
As people of faith, efforts to address climate change are deeply rooted in our belief that we are all one and share kinship with all of creation. This idea was powerfully articulated by Pope Francis in his groundbreaking encyclical, Laudato Sí, On Care for Our Common Home, released on May 24, 2015.
To commemorate the 5-year anniversary, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas are launching an exciting year-long initiative to encourage our Mercy Family to do their part to care for creation: the Mercy Earth Challenge.
Launching on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—April 22, 2020—the Mercy Earth Challenge will invite individuals throughout our Mercy Family and beyond into a year-long series of personal, communal and systemic actions throughout six distinct seasons:
- Earth Day – Laudato Si’ Anniversary
- Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4)
- Advent (November 29 – December 24)
- New Year’s Resolution 2021
- Lent 2021 (February 17 – April 1)
As Pope Francis reminds us, “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in ‘lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.’” [Laudato Sí #5]
Pope Francis speaks of profound lifestyle changes that need to be made for the health of our planet. Although “profound changes” may seem intimidating, we know that our Mercy Family is up to the challenge!
As we prepare for this yearlong journey, reflect on these important questions:
- How can I not simply recycle, but reduce, refuse (the wasteful bag, straw, etc.) and reuse?
- How can I live gratefully and simply today?
- How are my actions for Earth an expression of my faith?
Combating the ongoing climate crisis will take each of us doing our part. The Mercy Earth Challenge is not a sprint, it’s a year-long marathon of change. Are you ready to be part of our movement?