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Laudato Si’ Anniversary and Media Update

Recently a friend, trying to locate my video trilogy “Wake to Wonderment,” alerted me that I placed my eight original videos on a page titled “Media,” and never included them on my “Suggested Videos” page. These original videos either reinforce the message of global interconnectedness in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home or refer to it directly. June 8, 2018 is the third anniversary of the release of that document.

In honor of the anniversary and also to correct my original oversight, I am adding the following to the “Suggested Videos” page:
I certainly suggest the following videos, which are found by clicking the Media page:
– Time for an Energy Change
– Wake to Wonderment: Matins, Lauds, Vespers
– Unless the Seed Dies
– Joy of New Life
– In/sight
– October celebrations related to Laudato Si’ 

I wrote the text of all eight and am responsible for the video creation of a few. I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of those who created the others or shared narration tasks.

“Time for an Energy Change” was created for Sisters of the Holy Child in 2012, Sadly, it is still very needed — even more so now that the United States is officially rejecting the Paris Climate Agreement and changing regulations intended to lower the causes of climate change.

One statistic in “Time for an Energy Change” needs updating. It originally showed CO2 at 394 ppm, well above the safe upper limit of 350 ppm. In 2013  updated to show that we had reached 400 ppm. As of May 2018, the world has surpassed 410 ppm and we — humans, flora, fauna — are all experiencing the results of this alarming increase.

No time like the present to reread Laudato Si’, view related videos, and ponder what they call each of us to do. 


MTE1ODA0OTcyMDMzNTQxNjQ1In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis presents “an educational challenge” (par. 209) that requires “educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility and compassionate care.” (par. 210)

The goal of this education is described throughout the Encyclical. For example:

– “awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone.” This basic awareness, he predicts, “would enable the development of new convictions, attitudes and forms of life.” (par. 202)

– “It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be  considered in isolation.” (par. 138)

What follows is a model of such a program. I am indebted to orla_w_cosmic_story_and_earthDr. Orla OReilly Hazra, PhD, and to her students, for the following information and quotes.

Offering an Integrated Cosmic Vision

Orla and Prashant Olalekar, PhD, S.J. co-taught an honors course titled “Be the Dream: Awaken to Cosmic Compassion” at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. (For information about the course, see
IGNATIAN PEDAGOGY in an Evolutionary Universe: Report on Honours Course, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India)

Their students included the age group of 18-22, a variety of academic majors, and an even wider range of faith traditions, plus two teachers. These students learned the story of our 13.8 billion-year-old Universe. They absorbed the reality that our bodies and the bodies of all we see around us are part of everything that emerged from this evolution. The Universe Story — unknown for so long — conveys the wonder and awe that overwhelms many scientists as they face the stupendous creative power animating our journey together.

bighistoryunits The big history of our lives was outlined through its 8 threshold moments: big bang, formation of galaxies, elements, solar system, life, humans, agricultural era, industrial era (and end of Cenozoic era from which we emerged) — and now our emerging 9th moment – the ‘ecozoic era’.

With this solid foundation, these students proved that “if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.” (par. 11)


The following quotes show that these students, confirmed in their place in the Universe Story, accept their responsibility for co-creating and fostering the flourishing for all. Their common response after listening to and meditating on their integral origin story was one of deep awe, wonder and reverence. Their journal entries reveal that they are now able to see their bodies and themselves and all around them as part of an integral co-creative process:

“We are such an amazing and significant part of this universe, evolving together with all species and forces of nature. I am mother earth and mother earth is me. Knowing about this cosmos has been the first step towards unraveling the purpose of my life. Having understood this, I wonder, won’t it solve our issues of inequality for we are cutting down separation/discrimination from its basic root” (Shweta)2224010451

The Big Bang theory has never affected me the way it did today. We are all interrelated, we have emerged from the same stars. Thus my view has changed dramatically when it comes to looking at the problems of the world. The meditation did help us to delve deeper. I did notice that I should listen to myself and nature even more.” (Renisha)

“The immediate change on the surface level is to become sustainable: reduce use of plastics, eliminate shopping cravings, make homemade food and beauty products, a deep acknowledgement and compassion for my skin, my organs, my body that has been supporting me … maybe ever since 13.8 billion years … at moments like these I realize that I cannot continue my speech of ‘them’ and ‘us’ because we really are one, and we need to fight not only for the marginalized but also for Mother Earth. If I sit cross legged [in Indian meditation prayer] and decide that there is nothing I can do for Mother Earth, whose metals, atoms, chemicals are that which sustain and have made me, isn’t it rather a bit selfish and foolish to be doing?” (Kala)

Ecological Conversion

Awareness of the integral existence of the Mystery in all things is the metanoia necessary. We currently struggle with a mindset that denies, rejects, or is simply unaware of our unity with all creation. As stated by Bernard Lonergan, SJ: “How indeed, is a mind to become conscious of its own bias when that bias springs from a communal flight from understanding and is supported by the whole texture of a civilization? (Lonergan, 1958, xv)

Healing the dualist mindset bias which is causing the problems in the first place is essential for the education advocated by Pope Francis. As ecotheologian Diarmuid O’Murchu rightly points out: “Reconnecting with the Earth – with the whole Earth — is the single greatest challenge now facing us as a human species.” Our primary context of the Cosmos is the basis of any ‘religious’ story and is the commons from which we all emerged.

The course described here, and experiences like it in schools, families, parishes, religious congregations, and organizations of all types, prove that from understanding our common heritage and common ground, a common reverence and responsible action can emerge globally — and with joy!

Call for More Examples

Please add, in comments, other examples of ways parents, teachers, authors and artists are enabling others to place our lives and our religious stories within the unity of all creation.



Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource is here!

Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource: On Care for Our Common Home is now available at:

Laudato Si’ 11:18

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Goals of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource

Pope Francis writes: I would like to enter into dialog with all people about our common home. (par. 3) That dialog is one goal of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource. Others include gathering for prayerful reflection on this document, and deepening our appreciation of integral ecology and our call to care for our common home.

Advantages of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource

  • Reading, praying, and discussing quotes from the Encyclical together provide a powerful experience and motivate further study;
  • Devoting the first of five sessions to the encyclical’s Introduction establishes a solid foundation for accepting the full document;
  • Scripture excerpts are useful now or any time, including Lent;
  • Pertinent videos and hymns enrich the sessions;
  • Practical weekly action suggestions lead to lasting commitments;
  • Material is free and 5-sessions are manageable.

home-planet-earth-1-638Reactions to Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource

The enthusiasm of pilot participants convinced me to change this resource from being a Lent resource to one of use now or any time (though it can be useful for Lent).

Here is an unsolicited response to this resource from Loreta N. Castro, Executive Director of the Center for Peace Education and a Professor at Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines:

I love both the content and process! I think it gives a great balance between knowing about Laudato Si  and its core messages and feeling the love, empathy and connectedness with Mother Earth. I also appreciated the last section on “Suggested Actions…” 

Continuity of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource

For over ten years I have provided resources that integrate Scripture, Christian faith, and care of Earth in the setting of the Universe Story, our resulting interconnectedness, and their connections to poverty, peace and justice in our world imbued with divinity. Past programs have focused on Air, Water, Soil, Energy/Light, Peace, Species/Habitats, and Ecospirituality. Laudato Si’ Reflection was originally intended for Lent (and its Scripture excerpts are from Lent’s readings, so it will be useful then), but pilot groups proved that it is effective now.     Some of the pilot participants:

Gather a group — family, friends, students, parishioners, neighbors, whomever — and experience the inspiration and transformation that Pope Francis’ words can bring.