ISJ Essay: Our Neighbors on the Street

In a recent essay for this parish newsletter, Father Hallinan asked, “What can you do this Lent to direct your focus to others in need?” Members of our parish Ignatian Social Justice Ministry, organized by Laura De Boisblanc, answered the call and participated in Don’t Walk By, an annual outreach collaboration with City Relief, New York Common Pantry, Salvation Army, and other groups. Volunteers canvassed Manhattan streets, met dozens of unhoused individuals, and invited them back to the host site, the Salvation Army headquarters on West 14 Street, for a nutritious meal, clothing, medical care, and referrals to city agencies for more services.

So, what insights/experiences/thoughts did St. Ignatius volunteers have? Below are comments from parishioners who participated in the 2024 Don’t Walk By.

JUDY AND KELLY KEENAN: We were inspired by the people we met on the street, like the man who became our best advertisement, encouraging all his friends to talk with us, and the person, though homeless, who told us he had enough to eat and did not want to take a meal from someone in greater need.

LAURA DE BOISBLANC: One man living on the street for 15 years walked ten blocks with us, chatting the entire time. All he wanted from us was to speak with a social worker and get his GED.

DOLORES TROY-QUINN: Seeing a few hundred volunteers, especially young people, reminded me there are so many people living their faith every day.

TERRY QUINN: Matthew 25 came alive on the streets of New York.

ANNE MELANSON: I am always inspired to see how a kind word, a smile, and a show of interest are welcomed by our brothers and sisters on the street.

JIMMY COFFEY: I experienced the grace of God when our team leader, Thomas, spoke with a young man who has lived on the streets for nine years. I saw that grace again when Terry and Priscilla dug deep to find the right words in Spanish to keep up a long conversation with a migrant family.

PETER WOOD: What stood out for me was that despite being stripped of the material benefits that we take for granted, our neighbors living on the streets expressed gratitude…on this special day, we recognized our neighbors as just that. Neighbors.

— Terry Quinn

March 10, 2024 Essay: John F. Kennedy & The Houston Speech

In September 1960, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had what he and his advisors called a “Catholic Problem” that never seemed to go away. Despite famous interviews in Life magazine and regular statements in the press outlining an exceedingly solid wall of separation between church and state, Protestant and secular voices regularly issued thinly veiled warnings of the danger of a Catholic in the White House. Their concerns spanned the spectrum from hooded patriots burning crosses in the night to highly respected public intellectuals like Union Theological Seminary’s Reinhold Niebuhr, the most respected Protestant theologian in mid-twentieth century America. Niebuhr’s critique (typically brilliant) was not that Kennedy was a Catholic, but rather that he was a bad Catholic, not really understanding his own faith tradition. The only previous Catholic candidate to receive his party’s nomination for that office—New York State’s “wet” governor, Al Smith—had lost the 1928 presidential election by the largest margin of votes up to that time, and officials of both major parties viewed the chances of any Catholic candidate winning a presidential election as very thin after the 1928 debacle. In the fall of 1960, Kennedy seemed headed for a similar loss at the polls, and the secular press made much of the fears of Protestant voters across the spectrum in allowing a Catholic to function as the “high priest” of America’s civil religion.

It was, therefore, with a heavy heart, that Kennedy accepted the invitation to address the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, 300 evangelical Protestant clergymen strong, gathered in the ballroom of Houston’s Rice Hotel two months before the election. In the course of that address—now generally known as the “Houston Speech”—JFK outlined what many at the time (and since) considered a problematic “privatization” of religious belief for public officials: “I want a president whose religious beliefs are his own private affair,” Kennedy asserted before the assembled ministers, “a president for whom no religious belief or commitment takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution.” Catholic journals at the time voiced surprise and confusion about the Houston Speech. The Jesuit editor of America, in his editorial the week after the address, noted that “Mr. Kennedy can’t really believe that: no religious person can believe that.”

Kennedy’s address is credited with winning him the presidency, but pundits at the time and since (both Catholic and Protestant) have questioned the price of that win: While the Houston Speech did seem to convince enough voters that Kennedy’s Catholicism posed no threat to the separation of church and state to elect him, many scholars—especially Catholic historians—have raised troubling question of whether JFK’s speech made the road to the presidency a much more difficult task for Catholic politicians. Many Catholic bishops at the time, most publicly New York Cardinal Francis Spellman, supported the Republic candidate, Richard Nixon, and Catholic bishops since have tended to be quite critical of Catholic candidates who—like JFK—have erected a wall between their personal faith and their public policy commitments.

— Mark Massa, S.J., Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life & Professor of Theology at Boston College


Join us on Monday, March 11th at 7 PM in Wallace Hall , as Fr. Massa presents John F. Kennedy, The Houston Speech, and Catholic Citizenship, which will explore the impact of John F. Kennedy’s ‘Houston Speech’ on the Catholic presidential candidates who came after him.

March 3, 2024 Essay: Jesus Reveals Who He Is

Have you ever noticed or thought about why Jesus has the most protracted dialogue and encounter with the woman at the well, Jacob’s well, than any dialogue with his disciples? Although the “woman at the well” remains nameless, she represents people in any community who are the least respected, the marginalized of society, and they are the people Jesus always reaches out to in his ministry.

Jesus chose her because she was not a Jew and not the usual male persona we generally meet in the Gospel stories. She was an outsider, a Samaritan who was both Gentile and Jew and not highly regarded in her community.  As a Samaritan, she believes in foreign or idolatrous gods, along with the Hebrew God.

Think about this, she had to get her water from the well at high noon so she wouldn’t encounter other women from her community because they viewed her as a fallen woman.

Suddenly, a man appears who is sitting next to the well and asks the woman for a drink of water from her bucket. She knows he is not from Samaria because of his features and realizes he must be a Jew. Yet, Jesus disregards who she is and where she is from and asks for water. He has had a long journey and is thirsty and in need of a drink. She cannot understand why this Jewish man asks her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink of water.

At this moment, she meets the Light of the World at noon—the brightest hour of the day. Jesus offers her the Living Water of life, “those who drink of this water will never be thirsty again.” Something stirs up in her heart. As their conversation unfolds, it is a bit unnerving to the Samaritan woman to hear Jesus recount the innermost personal aspects of her life.  He knows she was married five times and is now not married but living with a man.

She thinks of him as a prophet, and it is here at Jacob’s well where the Samaritan woman becomes enlightened and discerns who this man might be. She speaks of the Christ, the Anointed One, who will come and proclaim all things to humankind. When Jesus says, “I am he,” the Christ, her eyes are opened, and she realizes he is the One who will lead, teach, and save God’s people. She heads back to her village to proclaim the “Good News” that the Messiah is among them right now. In our world today, if she had an Instagram account, it would have taken seconds to proclaim the news! And she probably would have taken a selfie with Jesus!

Why does Jesus reveal himself first to a woman? A Samaritan? An “outcast?” Jesus intentionally breaks down the religious, racial, and gender barriers in this one encounter with a Samaritan woman. This is our lesson to learn. Throughout the ages, humankind has put up barriers. We cannot bridge the divide if we continue to shut out those who are different from us. It is time to open our eyes and see the possibilities. See the wonder and beauty in diversity. Jesus shows humankind that it takes a variety of people to build any community. We, too, are all related to each other in some way—whether by blood, religion, church, nationality, ancestry, friendship, neighborhood—and we are related to Jesus.

Johannine theology emphasizes that all of us must come into personal contact with Jesus. Jesus himself, shows us in the Samaritan woman how important an encounter is to him. This Lenten season how will you encounter Jesus? How can you bridge the divide and bring the living water of Christ to others? How will Jesus reveal himself to you?

— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate

February 25, 2024 Essay: Journey Into Exile

All I wanted to do was roll over, one more time, in my cozy bed. However, I told my mom I would accompany her to an immigration program on Saturday morning. What was I thinking? I need my sleep. After all, I was out late the night before with my friends at the Fordham Prep vs. Xavier basketball game. All I wanted to do was hit the snooze button for five more minutes. Heck, I would rather study for my SAT. But no, as promised, I walked to Wallace Hall with my mother for Journey Into Exile, an interactive immigration simulation exercise.

Within minutes of my arrival, I was no longer a privileged Upper East Side kid. I had become Mohammad, a 49-year-old refugee from Somalia looking to flee my country as soon as possible. I sat in my assigned camp with eight other simulated refugees, including my mom, who had become a 72-year-old widow from Burundi with no education or money. All eight of us campers had different stories, talents, and economic situations. But we all had one common goal. We needed to leave our country as soon as possible!

We had minutes to decide what three possessions we would bring on our journey. Would it be my phone, a bottle of water, the Bible, a blanket, my passport? Such decisions! All I had were the clothes I was wearing, $3k, oh, and they took my shoes. I would begin my journey barefoot. I only had 30 seconds to organize and leave my home that I would probably never see again. Maybe I wanted to bring a picture of my home or family with me?

Needless to say, my campers did not vote for me to attempt to flee our camp for the US. I ended up as an urban refugee living in Istanbul. I decided to take a dangerous job to make the most money quickly. Unfortunately, I was injured on the job. Could not afford my medical bills. That was the end of my journey.

Of the 42 campers in our simulated program, only one person made it to the US. One person!

Looking back, I am happy I spent my morning in Wallace Hall. I have a better understanding of what migrants around the world are experiencing—quick decision-making, which affects their future. The migrants want safety, security, and a better life. These are all things we never ponder when rolling over and hitting snooze in our cozy beds. I will congratulate the migrants who have made it to our city. They beat the odds! These people are not bad people. These people are fleeing horrific lives. Lives that may have been interrupted by natural disasters, slavery, crime, gangs, famine, or war.

As a junior at Fordham Prep, I am a Man for Others. It is my responsibility to assist my neighbors the best I can. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” This Lenten season, consider helping a refugee family in our city. Consider doing a small thing in a great way by donating clothing to the Little Shop of Kindness. Volunteer at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi Migrant Center, helping migrants complete asylum applications. Or attend the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola Stations of the Cross for Migrants on March 20th, followed by a panel discussion about what our parish is doing to welcome migrants through our Migrant Accompaniment Program.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us. Saint Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.

— Anthony Lucarelli III, Parishioner

February 18, 2024 Essay: Reflections Upon Baptism and Service

[This First Sunday of Lent, our Parish celebrates two Rites for 22 adults: the Rite of Sending (for those preparing for baptism) and the Call to Continuing Conversion (for our already baptized candidates). Then at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the afternoon, Cardinal Timothy Dolan welcomes the catechumens and accepts their desire to be baptized into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. This essay is written by Wayne Weddington, who was received into the Church in 2022.]

I have always felt that God has been with me, an always-present whisper of encouragement and guidance for as long as I can remember. After joining RCIA, God’s presence was confirmed to me through our readings from the Bible, our textbook, and other prayers that we prayed together. I did not always call the Word, God. I am not certain what I called God before this journey, but I knew God was there. Each week’s readings spoke to me, and the voice seemed familiar.

At one point during this RCIA journey to Christ, we were asked to reflect on what we desire from God’s Church. I said: “To affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ has always been, and forever is, my companion and Savior.”

In reading the Gospels, I came to love the tacit emphasis of what I call the “low barrier to entry.” God’s Kingdom is immanently accessible. ANYONE can enter, no matter where one has been or how lost or damaged one’s GPS may be. The principles of love for one another, forgiveness, redemption, humility—and the recognition that we are all imperfect—bring us closer to God. The joy of God’s love is available to anyone who seeks it. God’s love is still there even if one does not seek it (perhaps that “guiding whisper”).

I am particularly grateful and proud to have completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Ignatius Loyola. I felt I had been called. I was deeply grateful to hear about the experiences of others in our group. Finding Christ is such a personal journey; no one person has precisely the same calling or reason for living.

And yet, here we stood together, well-aligned on the path to God. It has been a gift to experience integration through self-examination in and through Christ the Word and the Holy Spirit. At the Easter Vigil, I could not wait to experience the baptismal water on my head. I let it run down my face. I was reluctant to wipe it away. Amen! Hallelujah! I rejoice.

Now today, I am thrilled to be a member of the Ministry of Hospitality and a Lector. It is a responsibility and a joy to ‘touch’ my fellow parishioners on their way to receiving the Eucharist at Mass. Some are burdened, others happy, some simply curious or sad, but we are all there, convened, to experience Christ and to offer our connection with Him and offer prayers for one another. The Hospitality Ministry deepens my connection to the Body of Christ, and the honor of being a Lector enables me to learn the Scripture in a tangible way. It is also a great responsibility and honor to participate in the worship of my fellow parishioners. The parish response to the Readings, in unison, “Thanks be to God,” always moves me.

I think of the Mass as a celebration . . . that Christ is among us and that the Holy Spirit lives in each and every one of us. I look forward to every Mass, the Scripture Readings, the Gospel, and homily as if they are rays of Light. If you see me smiling at Mass, it is because, well, I am happy. As we begin Lent and walk toward the Cross and Resurrection, I truly treasure this journey.

— Wayne P. Weddington III, Hospitality Minister and Lector

February 11, 2024 Essay: Unanswered Questions

Someone has said that a person faces four questions as one goes through life.

As an adolescent, one of the main questions is: “Who am I?” As a young adult, the main question becomes: “What am I to do?”. Later, around 40, “Whom am I with?” And finally, around 60, “What does it all mean?”

You could quarrel with the timing, with how old a person usually is when he or she asks these questions, but it would be hard to quarrel with the questions themselves. They are always relevant and provocative.

Because we are about to enter the season of Lent, and because Lent is often a time to be more consciously introspective, it might be a good time for us to look at what’s currently happening in our own lives. A few questions come to mind.

Is my life taking me outside myself, beyond the range of my own needs and concerns? We only start to live when we can get outside ourselves and away from the very stubborn tendency to be self-centered and self-serving. The Christian scriptures keep reminding us that the point of being human is the effort to care passionately about others, not the effort to care passionately about myself.

I see this altruism, oftentimes strangely enough, in people who are dying! The dying are often more concerned for their loved ones who will survive them than they are for themselves and their own pain. I often think of the story told by Fr. Lawrence Jenco, the priest abducted in Lebanon and held as a prisoner for a year and a half. After his release, he talks about visiting his mother as she lay dying in a hospital. When he approached her bed, she tried to speak to him, but he couldn’t hear her.

So, he bent closer to hear her last words of wisdom, words that would surely be filled with great meaning and insight. With great effort, she clearly whispered: “Did you have lunch?” She died within the hour.

I’m always moved by this story, and I tell it frequently. It shows so clearly the complete lack of self-concern in a person who had every reason to be self-concerned at that moment.

This coming Wednesday, we will be entering the season of Lent. For a Christian, this may be an ideal time for some healthy self-questioning.

“Am I becoming a more self-giving person?

A more caring person?

A more forgiving person?

Is life teaching me that I am not as independent as I may think I am, or as I may want to be?

And where is God in all of this?”

May the season of Lent be a rich and rewarding time for all of us.

— Rev. William J. Bergen, S.J., Senior Priest

 

 

Ignatian Social Justice Essay: Do This in Memory of Me

Last week, I participated with a group of St. Ignatius parishioners, along with several others outside of our parish, on a trip to the U.S./Mexican border at Nogales, Arizona, and the adjacent city of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. We visited the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a bi-national organization inaugurated in January 2019 by six United States and Mexico organizations, including the California Province of the Society of Jesus and the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, and workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality. Its mission is to promote U.S./Mexican border and immigration policies affirming human dignity and a spirit of bi-national solidarity.

Our Kino activities began at a meeting with Father Peter Neeley, a Jesuit priest involved in Kino’s educational activities. Father Pete likened Kino’s mission to the instructions of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper—“Do this in memory of Me.” Father Pete explained Jesus’ request to his disciples, and to us, is a request to pour out ourselves in service to others. This past week, I experienced that this is precisely what the Kino staff and volunteers do each day to serve the needs of its guests. I observed the palpable sense of love and concern that everyone at Kino had to help those who sought out Kino’s services. Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, where Kino’s migrant shelter is located, can be dangerous. Still, Kino is a place of quiet refuge for its guests, who are treated with great respect and are surrounded by compassionate people carrying out Jesus’ instructions to his disciples at the Last Supper.

During our trip, we had the privilege of meeting with the migrant families staying at the Kino shelter. We served them several meals and played with the Kino children during the afternoon recreational period. The toys you donated for the children brought them great joy. It was wonderful to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they played with the puzzles, coloring books, and games that you generously donated. We appreciate the support you gave us before and during our trip—donating your toys, sending blessings, and your prayers for us while we were away.

We saw firsthand the palpable love and concern expressed by all the Kino staff and volunteers for their guests. They also bring great enthusiasm to their work. While I could recount many examples of the compassion and care that the Kino team demonstrated for its guests, I was particularly struck by one example of this. During our stay, a young girl celebrated her 15th birthday at the Kino shelter. While there was a cake and birthday songs to help her celebrate, it was a bittersweet and very emotional moment for the young lady because she had recently lost her mother to cancer. The girl’s mother was unable to receive medical care because the nearest public facility for cancer treatment was over two hundred miles away. Toward the end of the celebration, one of the volunteer cooks, probably around the age of the girl’s grandmother, came out of the kitchen and held the girl in a long, warm embrace. No words needed to be exchanged for the girl to understand the deep love and compassion the Kino cook expressed to the young lady at her Quinceanera, her coming-of-age 15th birthday party.

Last Saturday, Father Pete told us that participating in an encounter at Kino is a life-changing experience for many. It certainly was for me.

— Jim Skarzynski, Ignatian Social Justice Ministry

 

February 4, 2024 Essay: Lent: A Grace-Filled Season

Lent will soon be here. It is intended to be a season of grace in which we are given a privileged opportunity to renew our faith and allow our faith to inform our daily living.

There are three areas to which we ought to give attention in the Lenten season, and our desire is to identify a practice or action that we can take that is reasonable for us to sustain throughout our forty-day journey. Keep it simple, and you’ll be successful.

Prayer. What is the state of your prayer currently? How often do you pray? How much time do you spend in prayer? What is the character of your prayer—petitionary, devotional practices (rosary, novenas, etc.), meditative, Lectio Divina? If you currently do not have a regular practice of prayer, start small. Identify the time of day that is best for you to pray—early in the morning before others wake up, later in the evening when the children are in their rooms preparing for bed, lunchtime when you carve out 20 minutes for yourself. In the time period that is best for you, stop, put your phone on silent mode, and set aside 10-15 minutes for prayer. Start by simply breathing in and out for 2-3 minutes. Allow yourself to enter the moment. When you feel a bit recollected, then offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving to God. What are you most thankful for that day? After expressing thanks to God, tell God the one thing that weighs most heavily on your mind in that moment. Just name it! Entrust that concern to God and ask God to help you handle it with God’s wisdom and strength. End your prayer with an expression of confidence in God’s presence with you and gratitude for God’s never-failing love for you. If you think doing this daily is too ambitious a goal, start with a goal of 3 days a week and see if, over the Lenten time, you are able to do more. If you have an established pattern of prayer, then take inventory of what you feel is currently lacking in your prayer. If nothing is lacking, then this part of your Lenten program is complete! If something is lacking, identify what you will do to address it in a way that is not overly burdensome for you but, instead, is doable.

Almsgiving. What can you do this Lent to direct your focus to others in need? Can you call or visit someone you know is homebound and do so at least once a week? Can you give up two treats to yourself each week (your double mocha frappuccino or your bagel with a schmear) and donate that money to an organization that will leverage your gift so that it has a greater impact? Consider City Relief or New York Common Pantry. Can you identify one homeless person near your home, or your place of work, whom you will know by name, and to whom you will provide a set level of assistance each week? Keep it simple and doable!

Fasting. From what do you need to fast? It may not be food or alcohol. It may be from gossip, from anger, from grudges, from wounding words, from impatience, from prejudice. Take time now to identify what it is in you that most depletes your positive energy or is most hurtful of others. What will you do this Lent to abstain from this? Will you be attentive to when this tendency is asserting itself and immediately seek to direct your energy elsewhere?

All that we do in Lent is done to open ourselves to the abundant grace that God wishes to shower upon us. What we take up this Lent, or lay down this Lent, is nothing compared to what we receive in return from God. Happy Lent!

— Fr. Mark Hallinan, S.J., Associate Pastor

January 28, 2024 Essay: Unclean Spirits

“It’s the American way.” So said a friend as we pondered the many demons that seem to be torturing our society—family estrangement, addiction, loneliness, indebtedness, pornography, violence, militarism, conspiratorialism, racism, “the Big Lie”, among many others. This week’s gospel invites us to contemplate Jesus’s authority to rebuke and cast out the unclean spirits that maliciously seek to undermine us and drive us apart. He is the one power who can destroy them, as the demons themselves acknowledge.

Mark opens the scene with Jesus in the Capernaum synagogue, a word that had dual meanings for ancient Israel, referring to both a building where the community gathered for prayer and the community itself. One possessed was shunned and kept apart, lest the uncleanness contaminate others, which makes it particularly ironic that the evil spirit chooses to manifest itself here. It’s as if this little devil of division is flaunting its destructive impact. Jesus, by healing the poor man, restores him to communion with his neighbors, his faith community, and his nation. Cut off from his “synagogue”, the unclean man was dead; he is alive again through the healing grace of Jesus.

Like the possessed man at Capernaum, “the American way” has become characterized by alienation from each other, an alienation that has infected our politics, our churches, our families. Reliable research reports, for example, that nearly 30% of Americans are estranged from a family member, 1 in 5 condone using violence against their fellow citizens to further political agendas, and 1 in 4 young adults report feeling lonely and without significant connection to others. Moreover, nearly a third of us believe the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen. While talk of demons and evil spirits might be gauche among the intellectually sophisticated, it does seem that there is a divisive, deceiving, malevolent force at work among us.

Our time is not the first the world has faced the dark power of “unclean spirits.” In August of 1942, when the Nazis appeared to be winning, the eminent and insightful Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote, “Is there still a chance to save ourselves from this spiritual decay? Yes, but a miracle will have to happen. And miracles only happen when one believes in miracles. Small islands like mountaintops would have to grow out of the chaotic sludge; islands of contemplation and of a sense of justice. Perhaps a new world will develop from these islands.” Jung understood that powers of demonic darkness were wrapping their tentacles around a vulnerable world, but that light could ultimately prevail if intentionally chosen and cultivated.

Communities such as our parish can be these islands of which Jung wrote. We together serve as a counter-witness to these “unclean spirits” through our ministries of solidarity and justice, through our breaking the bread and breaking open the word, through our dedication to lives of prayer and morality, and through our commitment to being a place where all are welcome. Jesus empowers us, as the Body of Christ, to cast out these demons, but as with all miracles, it will require our cooperation with Jesus’ healing grace. We are called to make a daily choice to say “yes” to the way of Christ, and “no” to “The American way,” my friend sighed over—when that American way means collusion with the unclean spirits.

Our journey to healing begins by bringing ourselves before Jesus with those unclean spirits that torment us—the spirits of hatred, anxiety, isolation, mistrust, violence, fear, and all that keeps us separated from others and ourselves. Naming and facing these within and without, allowing God’s healing light to penetrate those darkest places of the heart, can transform us into channels of grace for our world. I invite you to spend time in prayer this week with Jesus, the exorcist of unclean spirits.

— Brian B. Pinter, Pastoral Associate

Essay: Creation Care

The parish’s commitment to “Reverence God in the Wonder of Creation” is “a fundamental cornerstone to our mission.” With that vision in mind, our recently published Laudato Si’ Action Platform is a formal action related to our Vision Statement Implementation Plan. Part of that plan is to offer and spread the continuing awareness that our actions are joined to a worldwide, faith-based call to praise and honor God. Together, in gratitude, we can become good stewards of the Earth, God’s Creation.

Reverencing God in caring for all of creation is and has always been a central dimension of our faith, the importance of which has become paramount as we face the consequences of climate change. The evolving empirical evidence and information we receive on climate change offers both increased urgent alarm as well as evolving possibilities for solutions. Those solutions can be as far-reaching as using space-based lasers to gauge how much planet-warming carbon the trees are keeping out of the earth’s atmosphere to what we do in our homes by having a less wasteful holiday period by buying durable goods, minimizing food waste, and composting the leftovers.

The recently completed COP 28 global climate summit agreement includes aspects of transitioning away from fossil fuels, tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency measures by 2030, halting forest degradation, safeguarding marine ecosystems, and a commitment to a fund for loss and damage. The worldwide Laudato Si’ Movement and the US-based Catholic Climate Covenant, among other faith-based organizations, have unequivocally expressed continuing to be active in these efforts.

As worded in a message from the Catholic Climate Covenant, “How we—each of us, and together, with the Holy Spirit—make that happen, is where the hope and progress is and will be.”

— Nicholas Naccari