Earth Day is commemorated each year to highlight environmental issues that impact people around the world. In recognition of this annual celebration, an evening of reflection on Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si” will be held Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Philadelphia.
“Celebrate Earth Day Catholic Style,” a special event during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, will focus on the importance of caring for “God’s created world and the dignity of human life created in the image of God.” The event is co-sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, the Office for the New Evangelization and the Aquinas Center based at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in South Philadelphia.
Ricardo Simmons, director of the Penn Newman Center and founder of Creatio, an environmental stewardship ministry, will give a presentation on “Laudato Si” and highlight why it is important for Catholics to care for the environment and the responsibility Christians have to poor people who are vulnerable to changes in the environment.
“With Earth Day coming up, it’s a good time to get the Catholic perspective on the Earth and creation,” said Matt Davis, director of the Office for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees. “This encyclical has a lot of wisdom in it, so we wanted to share that and have conversations about it.”
In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives from the Aquinas Center, Catholic Relief Services, Creatio, Pontifical Missions Society, Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, Alliance Natural Family Planning Network, and Red Hill Farm, which is owned by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia.
“The encyclical is calling people to action, to do something about the crisis of the environment,” said Meghan Cokeley, director of the Office for the New Evangelization. “We’ve invited ministries that have something to do with environmental stewardship so people can actually get involved and take responsibility for this stewardship that the pope is asking us to do.”
Davis hopes this event will bring together a “broad cross-section of people in the Archdiocese.”
“I think it’s going to be an exciting evening and an opportunity to learn about the encyclical and what people can do to respond to it,” he added.
The event is free and open to the public, and no registration is required. Free parking will be available. For more information, call 215-587-0500.