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2023: World Water Day & World Earth Day are Linked & Flow Together March 22nd, 2023


Green, gold, red diocese logo

Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Angelo
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We focus on World Water Day, March 22, 2023

First, we focus on World Water Day, whose theme for 2023 is Accelerating Change. What is World Water Day? World Water Day is an annual United Nations Observance that started in 1993 focusing on the importance of Water, coordinated by UN-Water and led by one or more U-Water members and partners. This wonderful creation day celebrates Water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis.

A core focus of WWD is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030). In preparation for March 22nd, people and organizations hold earlier World Water Day events in accord with the theme Accelerating Change and participate in the global campaign launched in the preceding months by UN-Water and social media. On World Water Day itself, the UN World Water Development Report is released focusing on the same topics as the campaign and recommending policy direction to decision makers.

Sun, blue lake and green pine treesThis WWD is about accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. Because water affects us all we need everyone to take action. You and your family, school, church, and community can make a difference by changing the way you use, consume and manage water in your lives.

Some action steps
> Save water: take shorter showers and don’t let the tap run when brushing teeth, preparing food, and doing dishes.
> Make it equal: share water gathering between men and women, girls, and boys.
> Flush safe: fixing leaking water and waste pipes, empty full septic tanks and report dumping of sludge.
> Stop polluting: don’t put food waste, oils, medicine and chemicals down the toilet or drains.
> Eat local: buy local seasonal foods and look for products made with less water.
> Be curious: find out where my water comes from and how it is shared and visit a treatment plant to see how our waste is managed.
> Protect nature: plant a tree or create a rain garden–use natural solutions to reduce the risk of flooding and store water.
> Build pressure: write to my elected representatives about budgets for improving water at home and abroad.
> Clean up: take part in cleanups at my local rivers, lakes, wetlands, or beaches.
(Taken from US Water, World Water Day 2023 Accelerating Change)

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La Vista Participates in Sierra Club’s River Road Cleanup March 10th, 2023

Students with green vests cleaning outdoors Students at outdoor cleanup with trash bags  

Caption: Alton High School Students volunteer with  LaVista Ecological Center in cleanup day on River Road in Godfrey, Illinois

On President’s Day, February 20, 2023, the Piasa Palisades group of the Sierra Club hosted a cleanup day up and down the River Road in Godfrey, Illinois.

Sr Maxine Pohlman, SSND, representing La Vista Ecological Learning Center, was part of the crew and was expecting the usual small group of people to show up; however, this year was different.  About 20 Alton High School students appeared, on their day off, to give their time and effort to improve the area. They didn’t look like they just rolled out of bed, either; rather, they were all smiles about the project. Their participation, attitude, and youthfulness created a spirit of hope. I was reminded of a quote from the encyclical Laudato Si’:

“Let us sing as we go. May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take way the joy of our hope.” (LS 244)



Gilberto Pauwels, OMI – Defender of Democracy & Social Fighter March 3rd, 2023

(By Fr. Roberto Carrasco, OMI)

Writing about a personality, an Oblate missionary, a social fighter, is writing about someone who has dedicated years to his passions: advocating for indigenous peoples and caring for our Common Home. In the last General Chapter of 2022, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate emphasized our recognition of the vocation of the Oblate Brother for his equal and complementary responsibility in evangelization (cf. CCRR 7). For this reason, the 37th General Chapter reminds us that as a religious community, we are incomplete without the witnessing of our Oblate Brothers.

“In nature, the fundamental thing is to defend the existing biodiversity; trying to avoid that for secondary reasons, we destroy our diversity. The same could be said about cultures. At the beginning of CEPA (Center of Ecology and Andean Peoples), we defended the originality of the cultures. But now we recognize that not only our culture is important, so we defend the diversity of cultures”.

With these words, we can recognize Brother Gilbert Franz Camiel Pauwels Shootetten, OMI -a Belgian missionary who arrived in Bolivia in 1974-, and who, in 1995, together with the Oblates, Marcos Van Ryckeghem and Christian Dutry,  founded CEPA –(Center of Ecology and Andean Peoples)-. This center that the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate founded has been kept alive because 

“The first and fundamental duty is to accompany the peoples, the community. We accompany the native peoples foremost by helping them better understand their reality. We help people to understand nature better (the ecosystems where they live), the territories they live in with all their wealth and the threats to their homes. We do it based on research, publications, talks, and workshops, all seeking to empower people through knowledge. 

These words perfectly describe this Oblate Brother’s passion for announcing the Kingdom of God working with the native peoples of the Altiplano (Andean highlands) and preaching about the care of the Common Home. The people who know about his passion and love for them call him Gilberto, which is the Spanish equivalent of Gilbert.

Gilberto Pauwels is an Oblate Brother who has dedicated many years to studying Philosophy, Religious Sciences, Missiology, and Social and Cultural Anthropology, which are his favorites. He was also a co-founder of the Diocesan Center for Social Pastoral (CEDIPAS) in the diocese of Oruro in Cochabamba, Bolivia, a Center he directed for almost 20 years. 

Black and yellow cover with awardThis last February 8, 2023, through Chamber Resolution No. 010/2022-2023, the Chamber of Senators of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Bolivia has granted Brother Gilberto Pauwels, OMI, the recognition “Democracy Award – Juan Carlos Flores Bedregal,” for his activity in defense of democracy and social advocacy. 

Julián Arias, a Bolivian theologian who works at CEPA, points out that “this recognition that Brother Gilberto receives is for his fight in favor of democracy during the times of the dictatorship in Bolivia. For this reason, he has the nomination of President for life of the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights in Oruro.” 

It is important to remember that in 2010 Brother Gilberto received the “Sebastián Pagador” award in the First Degree National Emblem from former President Evo Morales for his service to the development, prestige, and progress of the state of Oruro. 

For the BOLPER (Bolivia-Peru) General Delegation, the witnessing of Gilberto Pauwels as an Oblate Brother is an encouragement for the whole Church. Because it presents the evangelical value of fraternal relationships of equality in the face of the temptation to dominate, seek the best place, or exercise authority as power. 


Laudato Si Movement Prayer Book & Calendar February 28th, 2023

The Laudato Si’ Movement Prayer Book features moving prayers from around the globe and will help you and your loved ones experience the ecological conversion that St. Pope John Paul II first mentioned and Pope Francis echoed in Laudato Si’.

This life-changing book also represents the diversity of Laudato Si’ Movement, with its multicultural richness and representation of different branches in our Church. 

Download a copy at the Laudato Si Movement website.

Looking for actions to take during this Lent, commit to actions to preserve Creation. Download this calendar with actions to take throughout Lent.



2023 Creation Care Calendars for Lent February 22nd, 2023

We invite you to join us this Lent to take actions to help preserve God’s great gift of Creation.

Our friends at Interfaith Power & Light, in partnership Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake and EcoLatinos, have produced downloadable calendars that can be adapted for your community & with different actions you can take during Lent.

Invite your communities to distribute them as bulletin inserts during worship on an upcoming Sunday. Each year, these calendars go up on refrigerators and bulletin boards across communities, and open many conversations about environmental stewardship and climate action.

Ways to eat for good

“Christians have fasted from meat during Lent for generations. Try eating vegetarian today and check out Oxfam’s Eat for Good resource online for other ways to use your fast to bless others”:

Visit their website to download the calendars: 

“May this season serve as a reminder of our interdependence and our call to care for our common home.”



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