Care of Creation & Climate Change

 “And God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was good.” (Gen. 3:17-19; 4:12)

Pope Francis’ new encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” is an unprecedented opportunity to bring together people of faith to address one of the most urgent moral problems of our time: climate change. “Laudato Si'” means “Praised be” and is the repeating line in St. Francis’ famous Canticle of the Creatures.

 

Watch Fr. David McBriar’s appearance on WRAL-TV to discuss the encyclical and St. Francis’ response.

Pope Francis connects the dots in how our faith calls us to protect the earth and to protect human dignity. We must witness to God’s love by caring for people who are poor (many of whom are already experiencing the effects of climate change across the globe) and for unborn future generations.

 

To answer Pope Francis’ call for dialogue and action on climate change, we have a ministry of parishioners who gather on a semi-regular basis for discussion and planned programming to live more deeply the Gospel call to be in harmony with all people and all of creation. We hope to reach many parishioners and bring together the interfaith community to inspire practical lifestyle changes and a unified voice calling for political leadership on this urgent issue.

For more information, please contact Trevor Thompson at
919-847-8205x270 or trevor.thompson@stfrancisraleigh.org


Brief History of Climate Change Activities

Our parish has a long history of activities related to the care of creation. As a Franciscan community, we follow the example of St. Francis, who intuitively recognized the interconnection between people and all of creation.

February 2011. Three of our newest buildings received Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) awards. The buildings are St. Mary of the Angels Chapel, the Community Center, and the St. Francis of Assisi Preschool. A fourth building, the Siena Center for Education and Lifelong Learning, received a silver LEED award.

Spring 2011 to present. We are in the fifth year of growing produce at the organic Franciscan Community Garden that was born in part out of parishioners’ concern about the Gulf Oil Spill and the need to inspire folks to grow more food locally. Last year, the garden contributed more than 1,000 pounds of produce to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle for distribution to people who are hungry.

February 2012. Our parish was awarded a silver LEED certification by the United States Green Building Council for our commitment to the environment.

June 2012. We collected 114 signatures and delivered them to the governor’s office opposing a rush to approve fracking in North Carolina while many questions remain about its safety and benefits. (Fracking is hydraulic drilling for natural gas in which water and chemicals are injected into wells to fracture rocks).

Summer 2012. 12 people participated in an 8-week study circle on faith and climate change.

Winter 2013. An energy audit showed the parish had made a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by replacing some older HVAC units and transitioning to compact fluorescent and LED lighting.

Spring 2013. St. Francis hosted a three-part community conversation on climate change and faith featuring faith leaders, Duke professors in environmental science and politics, and a panel of local leaders on climate issues.

October 2014. Parishioner Sheila Read represented the Catholic voice at a local conference on science, religion and climate change by giving a speech and participating in a panel discussion.

October 2014. We hosted a viewing and discussion of “Chasing Ice,” a National Geographic photographer’s project documenting the rapid melting of glaciers.

April 2015. Our K-8 school, The Franciscan School has celebrated Earth Week for several years. In April, children participated in a day of hands-on exhibits of different ways of caring for the earth.