At Earth Day checkpoint, Vatican’s bold Laudato Si’ initiative plants seeds of sustainability in the church
By Brian Roewe
April 22, 2022
When it was announced last year, Katie Hirschboeck and members of the creation care team at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, in Tucson, Arizona, immediately knew they wanted to get involved with the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, the Vatican’s major effort to move the global church toward sustainability in the spirit of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on ecology.
Enrollment in the program officially opened Nov. 14, 2021, about three years after it was conceived within the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. As Hirschboeck, a retired climate scientist at the University of Arizona, examined the platform website, she felt overwhelmed: partly by its design and message — “I nearly had tears in my eyes because it was so hopeful” — but also by the magnitude of the project — a seven-year initiative in which households or institutions across seven sectors of the church seek to complete a series of actions associated with seven overarching goals around sustainability, simple living and ecological spirituality.