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Spring into Healing Earth Day Celebration May 4th, 2022
By Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center
For fifty-two years, Earth Day has been commemorated on April 22nd since Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the event out of his deeply felt concern for our deteriorating environment. Interestingly, he elicited the cooperation of a Republican congressman to be his co-chair. Together they launched an effort that has gained momentum and branched out as its significance deepens during our present climate crisis.
This year our Earth Day celebration took place inside the Buckminster Fuller Dome on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville which provided the perfect ambience. As I looked up at the continents etched into the dome and then around at the participants drumming and dancing underneath, I felt a deep gratitude for being alive, and isn’t that what an Earth Day Celebration should evoke?
Others felt equally moved. One woman commented, “I felt blessed! I enjoyed sharing thoughts and memories, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones. And the drumming and dancing was awesome!” Another participant wrote a thank you saying, “What an uplifting blend of celebration, inspiration, education and call to action. It was perfect for the Easter season of hope and renewal!”
This event was offered by the Confluence Climate Collaborative, of which La Vista Ecological Learning Center is a member. We had just read and discussed the book All We Can Save: Truth Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, and during the afternoon we shared our favorite quotes, thoughts, and poems. One that especially touched me was by Geneen Marie Haugen: In our time of disturbance and radical change, we are crossing a threshold, a portal, or an unseen bridge from one world to another. It could be said that the bridge is either collapsing beneath us, or being made as we walk together, in the long twilight hours when one civilization gives way to another.
I truly felt that we were making the bridge together as we shared ourselves during the afternoon. And being together ignited my hope that one civilization really is giving way to another, to one that believes in solutions to the climate crisis that hear both the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor. I also felt blessed!
Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution April 16th, 2018
“Bring the whole human family together . . . for we know that things can change.”
(Laudato Si’, 13)
International Mother Earth Day or Earth Day, first observed in 1970 is the largest secular observance in the world. According to the United Nations, this observance ‘recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.’
This year’s theme, End Plastic Pollution, is to raise awareness about the exponential growth of plastics now threatening the survival of our planet and to get people involved in this effort.
All week you can find Climate Action activities by visiting the Faith Climate Action Week website.
Want to learn more about plastic waste? Read this article: Where does your plastic waste go?
Watch a video by the Catholic Climate Covenant Reducing Plastic Waste and Moving Beyond a Throwaway Culture
Read more about the issue and find more resources at these links:
Earth Day Reflection
Ours is a planet filled with wonder. It was only a few decades ago that for the first time in history, thanks to groundbreaking advances in technology, humans were able to view planet earth from space. In the eighties a spacecraft called Voyager captured an image of our solar system from 11,100,000,000 miles away, depicting it as a tiny grain of sand so tiny it was barely detectable. Yet there it was, that planet we call home, not only beautiful but filled with wonder, a home that provides all we need to live: oxygen, water, food, etc.
Looking at these images it is hard not to be moved with admiration, respect and amazement. It should make us feel privileged to inhabit this earthly place given to us by God. We now know there are not only trillions of planets in the universe but trillions of galaxies out there. Yet, as far as we know, not even one other is brimming with life like ours. This makes our home Mother Earth and us very unique and special.
What should our response be to such a gift from God, such a blessing? How are we to treat and care for our common home, for one another, and all living things that share this space? What comes to mind when we reflect on these questions? This: have we been mindful and grateful enough for the blessing of this beautiful home? On Earth Day 2018 let us experience, enjoy and thank God for Creation.
Earth Day 2016: Emphasis on Trees and Forests Worldwide April 20th, 2016
Earth Day 2016: Emphasis on Trees and Forests Worldwide
The first Earth Day was observed 46 years ago on April 22, 1970. It is the largest civic observance in the world, with millions of school children, teachers, and ordinary citizens participating in educational, civic and outdoor activities. The highlight of this year’s observance is the official signing ceremony for the Paris Climate Agreement. In December 2015 192 countries of the world adopted the agreement in Paris, France. In a symbolic gesture, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited every nation to officially sign the agreement this Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016, at the UN headquarters in New York.
This Earth Day our partner organizations, Catholic Rural Life and the Catholic Climate Covenant are calling for a greater appreciation for trees and their ability to keep the air we breathe clean. Catholic Climate Covenant is offering a free program guide for planning a one-hour Earth Day celebration in your parish or school. Download the program guide.
Visit the Catholic Rural Life website for more information on their work in supporting Integrity of Creation.
Earth Day Prayer – For Our Earth (Laudato Si, Pope Francis)
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness
all that exists. Pour out upon us
the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace,
that we may live as brothers and sisters,
harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue
the abandoned and forgotten
of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world
and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
at the expense of the poor and the earth. Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey
towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Earth Day Video: Faith, Relationships and Creation – This video reflection produced by Oblates JPIC office (3:01 minutes) with meditative text invites you to reflect with Pope Francis on our relations with one another and Creation.
Earth Day Action:
- Add your name to the Interfaith Climate Change statement.
- Support moral principles and priorities in climate change discussions, legislations and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable in society.
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Rural Life
International Mother Earth Day 22 April
Earth Day Network
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the United Methodist Church (UMC) marked Earth Day 2012 with the release a joint statement on the Eucharist and the environment. The statement, Heaven and Earth are Full of Your Glory, affirms that both Methodists and Catholics believe their celebration of the Eucharist helps them to see God’s glory in all of creation and therefore leads to greater care for the environment.
The document says: Jesus chastises the Pharisees for being able to interpret the appearance of the skies while being unable to interpret the signs of the times (cf. Mt 16:3). In our time the appearance of the skies has become a sign of the times. The threat of climate destabilization, the destruction of the ozone layer, and the loss of bio-diversity point to a disordered relation between humankind, other living beings and the rest of the earth (emphasis added). The elements of nature—grain for bread and grapes for wine—become part of salvation through the Eucharist and that salvation itself is an act of God at work in all of creation and all creation encountering God.
Additionally, the document call[s] both Methodists and Catholics to participate more deeply in the Eucharist by recognizing its intrinsic connection with the renewal of creation. Bishop William Skylstad, retired bishop of Spokane (and honorary chairman of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change) and Methodist Bishop Timothy Whitaker of the UMC Florida Conference co-chaired the dialogue.
Interfaith Moral Action On Climate April 20th, 2012
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate is a broad-based interfaith coalition formed to raise up the need for urgent action on climate change. Believing that the threat posed by Climate Change is a moral issue, IMAC has planned a series of events to coincide with Earth Day. To avoid conflicting with other events planned in Washington DC for Earth Day weekend, and because they will be visiting members of Congress, IMAC has scheduled the group’s activities for Tuesday April 24. If you are in the area, we encourage you to become involved. The Missionary Oblates JPIC Office is an endorsing organization. Full information is available on the IMAC website.
Schedule of activities:
Sunrise – 9:15 am Vigil • 8:30 am Interfaith Service with Bill McKibben, Ibrahim Ramey, Indigenous leaders, Luci Murphy Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
10:30 am “Cry of the Earth: A Service for Healing the Climate” with: Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, Dr. Carroll Baltimore, Sr. Simone Campbell/SSS, Rev. Richard Cizik, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Mohawk Clan Mother Louise McDonald, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and others at the NY Ave. Presbyterian Church,1313 New York Ave., NW; Bring some earth from your local community to be healed at the Service
12 noon Multi-faith Procession to the US Capitol
- Upper Senate Park, 200 New Jersey Ave. NW
- Wear religious garb if possible
1 pm Brown bag lunch for yourself and to share
1:30 pm Commissioning Vigil at the Capitol
2 – 4:30 pm Constituent Visits with Ethical Report Cards
- meet with members in the House and Senate (Sign up for this separately on the IMAC website)
4:30 – 6:00 pm Closing, Sharing & Benediction
- Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St.
- (behind the Supreme Court)
People of faith and good will around the country who cannot join us on April 24 are urged to have vigils in their local communities.
Earth Day Calls for a Respect for Biodiversity April 16th, 2012
We are grateful to Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI, of the Diocese of San Angelo for his Earth Day reflection on biodiversity, and wanted to share that here. (Download PDF)