Care of Creation
“And God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was good.” (Gen. 3:17-19; 4:12)
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.” Job 12: 7-10
Pope Francis wrote in his 2015 teaching document called Laudato si’ that our earth is like our sister, “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse … . the earth herself. . . . . is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; . . . We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.”
As Christians we need to be more than stewards and domineers, we need to be kin to all the creatures like St Francis was.
St. Francis Care of Creation Ministry
To answer Pope Francis’ call to care for God’s creation and engage in 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.
If you are interested in being part of this ministry, contact Trevor Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also partnered with congregations/organizations around the Triangle in an interfaith effort to care for creation and address climate change. This organization is called Interfaith Creation Care of the Triangle.
Celebrate the Season of Creation
Every year, from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, churches all over the world are celebrating the Season of Creation. This is a wonderful time for us to pray, learn, reflect, and act in our call to be caretakers of God’s creation.
This year, our Care of Creation Ministry has put together a wonderful resource for you and your families to enter more deeply this Season of Creation. This resource is a daily reflection guide, each week focused on a particular theme and each day a new activity, learning prompt, and invitation to grow in faith.
Also, you can find more resources from the Catholic Climate Covenant, an organization partnered with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and from the ecumenical effort to provide resources and world-wide coordination during the Season of Creation.
Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home
Pope Francis’ 2015 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 Franciscan friar and former pastor of our parish Fr. David McBriar’s appearance on WRAL-TV in 2015 to discuss the encyclical and St. Francis church’s 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.
Living our Call to Care for Creation at St. Francis of Assisi
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 2020. St. Francis goes solar. In order to deepen our commitment to care for God’s creation and be good stewards of the planet, St. Francis installed 216 functioning solar panels on the roof of Clare Hall on our campus. It is estimated that these panels will produce annual 95,317 kilo-Watt-hours of solar energy, and that over the next 25 years, these panels will prevent around 1,500 metric tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere and save the parish around $200,000.
You can also read about our solar efforts in the News & Observer: “A Raleigh church fulfills a pledge to protect God’s creation with solar panels” and in the NC Catholic Magazine: “St. Francis Unveils New Solar Project“
And watch a recording of our Solar Panel Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
• September 15, 2020. We hosted a virtual event via Zoom sharing the details of St. Francis of Assisi Church’s solar project, how this commitment helps our parish live out our mission and values, and ways to take the next step in solar for your church, business, or home. This program included presentations from St. Francis staff person Trevor Thompson, St. Francis parishioner Larry Petrovick, St. Francis solar contractor Scott Alexander from Eagle Solar & Light, and Fr. Pat Cahill, pastor and Bill Maloney, Solar Project Manager, both from St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville, NC. You can access a recording of this event by clicking on this link: WHY SOLAR ON A CHURCH?