Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Today, we commemorate the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day. As Catholics, this moment on the calendar is an important reminder that as beneficiaries of God’s creation, we have a duty to protect the environment and its impact on humanity, especially the poor and vulnerable who are sadly and frequently overlooked.
In 2015, Pope Francis issued his landmark encyclical Laudato Si (“Praise be to you, my Lord”). It remains a universal call for each of us to understand and embrace personal responsibility for the welfare of the natural world we inhabit. As the Holy Father tells us, “Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
The Earth is God’s precious gift to all living creatures. It is essential for us to protect and preserve it, especially for future generations. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, many parishes, schools, and other institutions have begun to form creation care teams to put the Holy Father’s words into action. Many are affiliated with EcoPhilly, an initiative launched to establish a network of creation care teams throughout the five-county region that achieve measurable improvements in their local environment. I commend their work and call on all people of good will to follow their example.
May God bless our earthly habitat and lead us to our heavenly home!
Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, D.D.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
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Editor’s Note: As part of the Laudato Si’ Movement, EcoPhilly’s mission is to establish a network of creation care teams throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that achieve measurable improvements in their local environment.