Conference at the Vatican, July 5-6, 2018
by Kathleen Storms, SSND
One of the highlights of this summer in Rome was attending the two-day conference on the third anniversary of Laudato Si’. I have been a firm supporter of this encyclical by Pope Francis since I had the opportunity three years ago to read it before it was published. For me it has given us a new creed of beliefs founded on the “Gospel of Creation,” as expressed in scripture, teachings of the Church over the centuries and by numerous popes.
The focus of the conference was on “integral ecology”—a term coined by Pope Francis to speak about the oneness of all creation. Integral ecology brings together the wisdom of science, theology, economics, education, spirituality, the arts as well the stories of indigenous peoples, youth and elders from around the globe. The 35 keynote speakers shared a common theme: The urgency of action now by every one of us.
If you haven’t already read Laudato Si’, that might be the first action step. Here are websites to help you ponder Laudato Si’ and the conference:
- Links to major presentations
- Season of Creation: Honoring creation September 1 – October 4
- Video summary of major points from the conference (1.23 hours)
- Video summary of the objectives of the conference (3 minutes)
- Educational resources focused on the crisis in the Amazon due to de-foresting, agriculture and gold mining. I had the privilege of sitting next to the producer of many of these educational materials.
Another highlight of the conference was the special audience with Pope Francis. Each of the 400+ of us in attendance were able to shake his hand and wish him well. To look into the eyes of this holy man and say, “Thank you for being the face of God for so many of us.” It was an unforgettable experience for me. I am committed more than ever to care for our common home.