Let’s respond to Pope Francis’ challenge! Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

A rainbow appears at Niagara Falls.

(Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)


Beauty of God’s creation

I was in Buffalo, N.Y., to attend the annual national Catholic Media Conference, which included a bus trip to Niagara Falls. It was my first visit to this beautiful place featuring three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the United States and Canada.

I took a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat and got an up-close-and- personal view of the falls — so much so that I was soaked even while wearing a slicker.

But it was certainly worth getting wet to see this stunning example of the beauty of God’s creation. In doing some research, I learned that Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age).

But the falls are not just beautiful. They are a valuable source of hydroelectric power for commercial and industrial uses.

The issue of water

Pope Francis writes about many things in this wonderful encyclical. I have to admit I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I’ve made a dent in it. It is certainly a “must read” for every citizen on our planet.

I checked the encyclical for what the pope says about water. Yes, there is a section on “The Issue of Water.” Pope Francis talks about water as an “issue of primary importance,” because “it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture, and industry,” he points out.

Depleting water sources is just one issue Pope Francis discusses in his encyclical. He calls upon each of us to take up his challenge to care for the earth, its people, and its resources. He emphasizes that we have to “come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us.”

We can’t let politics and prejudices interfere with our response to his challenge. If we all come together and join forces, we can protect our home.

As if God was giving his approval, a rainbow appeared over Niagara Falls on my visit there. I saw it as a sign of hope!