Papal encyclical 'Laudato Si'' celebrates fifth anniversary
Friday, May. 15, 2020
Bishop Oscar A. Solis
Pope Francis invites all the people in the world to participate in a global campaign, Laudato Si’ Week, on May 16-24, in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the publication of the encyclical letter “Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home.” It is considered the compendium of Catholic teaching on creation and the environment.
“Laudato Si’” means “Praise be to you,” which is the first line of a canticle by St. Francis that praises God with all of his creation. The celebration is sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and is meant to encourage Catholic communities to take bolder actions for creation during the weeklong initiative.
“Laudato Si’” was the first papal encyclical addressed “to the whole of humanity” and devoted entirely to ecological issues. The document challenges us to more deeply examine our lifestyles and decisions that affect the environment, ourselves and our fellow human beings. Pope Francis seeks “to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (LS #3). He helps us to understand man’s destructive practices and their effect on the environment and on his fellow man by providing some philosophical, religious and cultural perspectives of the increasing crisis. He then calls us to a global ecological conversion in order to preserve our common home for the present and next generations.
The theme of Laudato Si’ Week is “everything is connected.” This week is just the beginning of a year-long journey of transformation, as we grow through the crisis of the current moment by praying, reflecting, and preparing together to build a better tomorrow. “Laudato Si’” teaches us that the Earth is our common home and the environmental challenge of shaping the future of our planet impacts us all and is the responsibility of us all (LS #14). Pope Francis challenges the whole human family to join together to seek a sustainable and integral development capable of bringing change. Doing so not only preserves our common home, it helps us grow as humans, engaged in solidarity with each other rather than in the pursuit of more consumer goods.
On the fifth anniversary of his letter, Pope Francis said, “Let this five years’ marking of ‘Laudato Si’’ and 50 years’ celebration of Earth Day impel our desires to know and accept our sacred place like never before.” He calls the whole world to solidarity in order to prepare for a sustainable future and build a better world together through reflection, prayer and concrete, individual and collaborative efforts. He encourages us to take care of our environment, to live more fully as human beings, and to protect and preserve God’s work of creation, our common home. Let us join the Holy Father and recommit ourselves to the care of the earth, our common home.