Friday, February 12, 2016

San Antonio Sisters and Collaborators Gather to Discuss Laudato Si'

On Friday, Feb. 5th a group of around 40 CCVI Sisters and Collaborators came together in the Heritage Hall meeting room at The Village to discuss Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si and share ideas about how we can incorporate this important call and challenge from the Pope into our daily lives.  Jennifer Reyes Lay, Assistant Director of the Congregational Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office began with a summary power point of the encyclical, highlighting what is going on in our common home.  Then the attendees broke into small groups to discuss their own reactions to the encyclical, how our spirituality influences our lifestyle, and concrete actions we could take on a local, state-wide, and national level. 

There was lots of wonderful discussion and positive energy flowing about how we can respond together!  Some of the ideas shared in the large group discussion included riding the bus once a week to see where the bus lines could be improved, analyzing our energy use in all CCVI buildings and then coming up with a plan to reduce our energy or switch to more renewable energy sources, planting more community gardens, buying fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate, reducing our meat consumption and having protein alternatives served in our dining facilities, and using real dishes/silverware/cups at meetings instead of disposables. 

Dr. Dennis Gonzalez speaks about the work of
Howard Homan from Headwaters shares about
their work caring for our common home at the Headwaters
We were also blessed to hear from local CCVI ministry representatives about the great work they are doing in their respective institutions to care for our common home.  Dr. Dennis Gonzalez shared about the mission of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and how that connects to the spirituality of the sisters and caring for our common home.  Dr. Jeff Crane from the University of Incarnate Word (UIW) Sustainability Office shared about many of the actions taken by the university to be more sustainable including having their engineering students build a 100% solar house on campus, increasing the community garden space on campus, and installing water fountains that make it easier to re-fill reusable water bottles, along with increased efforts at recycling throughout the campus.  Howard Homan, Volunteer Coordinator for Headwaters spoke on behalf of The Headwaters Sanctuary about their many efforts to preserve the area of the Headwaters, involving many volunteers from various CCVI ministries and institutions to help them care for this important piece of our common home!
Dr. Jeff Crane shares about the many sustainability projects
going on at the University of the Incarnate Word.

At the end of our gathering all attendees came together for a moving prayer, traveling the stations of the earth in lament for the ways we harm our mother earth and praise for all of the gifts she so generously shares with us to sustain life.  Participants ended reciting the Pledge of St. Francis which can be found here:  You too can take the pledge to pray, act, and advocate on behalf of our common home. 

Following our final Laudato Si workshop in Peru, the Congregational JPIC Office will be sending out a report to all of the sisters, summarizing the workshops, resources, and ideas expressed about actions we could take as a Congregation to be better stewards of our earth.  Please keep an eye out for this document in the coming weeks, and continue to take actions every day to care for our Mother Earth! 

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