Facing pope’s challenge to protect creation Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jun. 02, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

It doesn’t seem possible that almost a year has passed since Pope Francis issued Laudato Si’, his beautiful encyclical on care for our common home.

Released on June 18, 2015, the encyclical touched on many of the critical issues facing our world today, including the availability of fresh drinking water, the loss of biodiversity, decline in the quality of human life, the breakdown of society, and global inequality, to name a few.

A Prayer for Our Earth

From Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense  of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love, and peace.

Make a commitment

The Holy Father challenged us to take up the commitment to protect the creation that God has given us.

Pope Francis says, “God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!”

As the Holy Father points out, God is with us in our efforts to protect creation. But it is up to us to do the work.

Discussing the challenges

The Catholic Rural Life organization, in reflecting on the one-year anniversary of Laudato Si’, has prepared church bulletin inserts (available at which discuss how to follow up on the encyclical.

Some questions asked include:

• How can land, water, and other elements of God’s creation be sustainably used in service to the common good?

• When and where do our resources need to be preserved and protected?

• How do we productively and effectively respond to this challenge?

Farmers and those who live in rural areas are most closely affected by these challenges, but all of us should be involved in coming up with solutions.

We all live in the world and use its resources. We should work together to protect all of creation. Pope Francis calls for coming to a “global consensus” on protecting creation. That is important.

Getting involved

But it is also vital that each one of us -- in our individual and family lives -- gets involved in caring for the earth.

One place to start is reading or re-reading Laudato Si’, either by yourself, with your family, or in a parish study group. Then come up with ideas on how you can care for our common home.

Another suggestion is to pray. Pope Francis’ encyclical has two prayers. One of them is published here. Start today to care for the earth!