“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. Pope Francis from Laudato Si
There has been much written and debated about Pope Francis’ encylical, Laudato Si. As he eloquently describes, the economic focus of all countries is destroying biodiversity, dangerously altering the climate and undermining the life-support systems of the planet for humanity and millions of other species. On all of this, Pope Francis offers a compelling summary of the scientific evidence, presented with clarity and precision. I do not intend to get political at all – my intent here is to reflect on the beautiful gift we have been given, the gift of creation.
The human family has received from the Creator a common gift: Nature. At St. Patrick School, we are spending the whole month of November focused on respecting the gift of nature, particularly water. Through our STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), we are giving our students hands-on experiences with the Water Cycle, conservation, acid rain, hydroponics, infrastructure and filtration, and watersheds. Our 5th,6th, 7th, and 8th graders are reading Laudato Si in class as well as participating in The Water Project, a non-profit organization that provides reliable water projects to communities in sub-Saharan Africa. These communities suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.
Our goals: to instill respect for all creation, to provide deep and meaningful learning experiences for our students and teachers, to provide service opportunities that will impact our school community for the rest of our lives.
Pope Francis has asked this: Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.