Laudato Si' – Praised Be To You
Archdiocese of Hartford Laudato Si’ Challenge 2017-2018
“Laudato Si’ is an urgent reminder that care for our ‘common home’ is a profound moral responsibility shared by us all.”
- Archbishop Leonard P. Blair
The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) and the Office of Education, Evangelization, & Catechesis (OEEC) are promoting the Laudato Si’ Challenge as a way for our Catholic schools to join the efforts of the Archdiocese of Hartford to pray, learn, and act upon the encyclical by Pope Francis, Laudato Si’.
Catholic Schools that accept the Laudato Si’ Challenge:
● Strengthen Catholic identity in a concrete and visible way
● Realize the common concern of students, teachers and families for the care of our earth
● Build community relationships through working together toward a common goal
● Receive local and regional recognition for their projects
● Discover new ways to collaborate with community resources & archdiocesan agencies
● Serve as a public witness to the call of Pope Francis to care for our common home
Here’s how to start:
- Appoint a School Team Captain and pledge to participate in the Laudato Si’ Challenge. The School Team Captain may be an administrator, teacher or committed volunteer who will be your primary school contact.
- Review the following challenges and decide which challenge(s) your school would like to partake in and help protect Mother Earth! Participating schools that complete a final report will receive recognition.
- Schools are asked to participate in one or more of the following four suggested challenges. School-wide participation is encouraged with age appropriate classroom activities. Activity suggestions are strictly suggestions; schools are encouraged to be creative. Activities can be new or built off existing projects. Incorporation of Laudato Si’ educational resources is required and can are available below.
Challenge # 1: Daily Actions to Care for Our Common Home
In Laudato Si’ (LS), Pope Francis gives us various suggestions on how to care for Mother Earth, “…[Such] as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings,” (LS 211).
How can your school community initiate some of these ideas? Suggested Activities:
● Improve your school recycling efforts
● Break the Bottled Water Habit at school events
● Plant a butterfly, windowsill, rain, or vegetable garden
● Start cafeteria-based composting
● Conduct a Classroom Energy Audit
Challenge # 2: Cultivate Creation and Sense the Spark of Awe
According to Laudato Si’, “‘Tilling’ refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature. Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations.” (LS 67).
How can your school community become one with God and nature? Suggested Activities:
● Coordinate a school wide prayer service
● Eucharistic Adoration
● Build an outdoor classroom
● Provide a brief reflection during morning or afternoon school announcements
● Create prayer cards for students and faculty
Challenge # 3: Be a Part of the Whole Human Family
Laudato Si’ reminds us that we are all connected: “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change,” (LS 13).
How can your school community contribute to the global community? Suggested Activities:
● Participate in Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl http://www.crsricebowl.org/
● Educate yourself about the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade program – buy, serve, and fundraise Fair Trade Chocolate, Coffee, or Crafts
● Participate in Catholics Confront Global Poverty by studying an issue and advocating through letter writing and legislative visits
● Support the Diocese of Norwich’s Outreach to Haiti Ministry by learning about Haiti, sponsoring a student, or providing medical and dental supplies
● **Incorporate Catholic Relief Services resources and videos into a school-wide International Day, school liturgy, or service day
Challenge #4: Communicating Beauty in God’s Creation
Laudato Si’ invites us “to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because [the Lord] himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder. As he made his way throughout the land, he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father, and invited his disciples to perceive a divine message in things: ‘Lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest’ (Jn 4:35),” (LS 97).
How can your school community experience the beauty of God’s creation? Suggested Activities:
● Create a movie about the environment to show to classmates or faculty
● Work with the art teacher to create art projects (i.e. sketch, paint)
● Illustrate Care for God’s creation through a play
● Take a class field trip to an arboretum, state park, or farm
● Challenge Applications Due: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi)
● School Captain Training Session: To be set in conjunction with School Team Captains
● Final Reports Due: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 (Feast of Saint Mark)
If you have questions, please contact:
- Archdiocese of Hartford, Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry, website page dedicated to Laudato Si.
- Read about last year’s Laudato Si challenge in this article by the Catholic Transcript
- Watch Office of Radio and Television’s coverage (at 10:15) of the Laudato Si Challenge at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Waterbury
- The University of St. Thomas (MN) offers an excellent Laudato Si’ resource for school-wide and classroom based prayer and educational resources addressing water usage, “throw-away” culture, and more available at the OCSJM Laudato Si Webpage.
- Visit the USCCB’s website at: www.usccb.org for successful stories of parish and school efforts at: We are Salt and Light.
- “Helping Youth Understand Solidarity & Sustainability” can be uploaded from the USCCB
- “Top Ten Takeaways from Laudato Si,” a great article in America by Fr. James Martin, SJ
- The Green Leaf Schools program offers classroom based lesson plans with common core standards on a variety of topics such as rain gardens and composting.
**High Schools wishing to receive separate recognition from Catholic Relief Services Global High Schools program should additionally sign up here: CRS Global Schools .