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Happy 2024 Earth Day! April 22nd, 2024

By Fr. Jack Lau, OMI, Sacred Heart Church Oakland GreenTeam
As the parishioners of @SacredHeart Oakland and Pax Christi North California prepared to go out into the Longfellow Neighborhood in North Oakland, we gathered for an interfaith prayer in front of the Hiroshima Peace Garden @ Sacred Heart. This garden is an oasis of peace for the wider community.
We collected over 300 gallons of trash, not including tires and larger items that were dumped in our neighborhood.

First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC) Hosts 7th Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada April 22nd, 2024

Indigenous consent and rights are pivotal to advancing North America’s global market share. Over 1,500 finance, industry, government, and Indigenous leaders are gathering in Toronto, Canada from April 22-23, 2024 to discuss how this collective advantage is key to their mutual environmental and economic success.



2024 World Earth Day: Show Appreciation & Stewardship for Planet Earth April 15th, 2024

Clergy in maroon robe

Green, gold, red diocese logo

Bishop Michael Pfeifer, O.M.I.
Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Angelo

Pastoral Statement for World Earth Day

The 54th Earth Day anniversary will be celebrated on April 22nd, 2024, by millions of people in many countries to safeguard and fight for a brighter future for Planet Earth. World Earth Day always focuses attention on appreciation and stewardship for planet earth. In a particular way, EarthDay.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day which grew out of the first Earth Day, has announced the global theme for Earth Day 2024; Planet Vs. Plastics.

(Image by Elena Pashynnaia, Pixabay)

The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life to give birth to the modern environmental movement. On international Mother Earth Day, we reflect on humanity’s important relationship, not only among human beings, but with the whole natural world. The UN Secretary General has reminded us that from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil that grows our food- humanity’s health depends on the health of Mother Earth. He cautions us that sadly, many times, we seem hellbent on its destruction. Our actions are laying waste to forests, jungles, farmland, wetlands, oceans, coral reefs, rivers, seas, and lakes. Biodiversity is collapsing as one million species teeters on the brink of extinction. We must end these relentless and senseless wars on nature. We have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions, but we must pick up the pace.

The annual celebration of Earth Day indeed calls us to pick up the pace of not only caring for our fellow human beings, but we must also care for the entire Earth and all creation. Our Creator gave us stewardship over the Earth, not to dominate it but to care, protect, and enrich it. As Pope Francis has said many times, Earth is our Common Home, the only home we have, the only one we will pass on to the next generations. This World Day leads us to have a new appreciation and respect for the beauty and goodness of the natural world that surrounds us, nothing more and nothing less, than God’s work of art, his own beautiful gallery. Through the beauty, variety, harmony, and truly wonder-filled marvels of creation, our Creator has something very important to say to us. Today all humanity should lift up prayers of thanksgiving to our loving God for the wonderful gift of Mother Earth, which provides us with the means we need to stay alive. And then, humbly pray that we will be better stewards to better care for this magnificent gift.



Nature’s Soul April 8th, 2024

By Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director, La Vista Ecological Learning Center

A few weeks ago, OMI Novices and I took a field trip to Treehouse Wildlife Center where the “intrinsic value” of creatures is honored, “independent of their usefulness” as Laudato Si’ states in paragraph 140. One of the permanent residents is a turkey vulture named Einstein, later discovered to be female. She was found as a chick and raised by a family. Since Einstein was human imprinted, she coud not be released back into the wild because, seeing herself more human than vulture, she would have trouble surviving. She is a resident for life, living in a glass enclosure inside the TreeHouse Center.

This is a photo of a painting which hangs near her enclosure. It shows Einstein looking in a mirror and seeing herself human-like. The artist poignantly captured Einstein’s perspective, and the human face is haunting, so much so that I was disturbed by the image.

Upon reflection, I find the painting holds implications for us humans who also seem to have an issue with self-identity. We, too, often live in a self-constructed world and fai to see reality, having been disconnected from the natural world for so long. We feel fundamentally unrelated to sun and moon, wind, rain, birds and all the many living beings we often don’t even notice as we live our daily lives.

Richard Rohr describes our situation as having “lost our souls”, and so we cannot see soul anywhere else. He writes, “Without a visceral connection to the soul of nature, we will not know how to love or respect our own soul…While everything has a soul, in many people it seems to be dormant, disconnected, and ungrounded. They are not aware of the inherent truth, goodness, and beauty shining through everything.” Rohr believes “…we can’t access our full intelligence and wisdom without some real connection to nature.”

Maybe that is one reason our wonderful world is suffering so much at our hands and why we are suffering too. We are like the vulture whose life is limited, enclosed, and out-of-touch with the magnificence of the natural world that is now beyond her reach; however, we have a choice! We can re-claim our soul within the Great Soul that is the Mystical Body holding all.

It seems that fitting conclusion to this reflection would be to listen to Heather Houston’s “Re-Wild My Soul”.



UN Actions on Climate Change: Fr. Iyo Danquin, OMI Reports March 20th, 2024

Reports By Fr. Iyo Danquin, OMI, Nairobi, Kenya

Civil Society Unites to Address Triple Planetary Crisis

During UNEA6’s second day on February 27th, a pivotal event titled “Civil Society Unites to Address Triple Planetary Crisis” convened at UNEP headquarters. Stakeholders recognized the urgent need to combat biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change. Panelists, representing both Brooke and World Animal Protection, emphasized innovative solutions, urging collective action.


United Nations Environment Assembly-6 (UNEA-6) Echo Report


The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) convened from February 26 to March 1, 2024, at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The session’s main theme was “Effective, Inclusive, and Sustainable Multilateral Actions to tackle the triple planetary crisis Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss, Pollution, and Waste.


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