By: Madeline Alvarez, Managing Editor
“Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” is Pope Francis’ first encyclical, which is a papal letter sent to all Catholic bishops. It was published in 2015, and Francis wrote it to remind the faithful of their duty to care for the earth.
On Oct. 29, Newman President Kathleen Jagger signed a commitment between Newman and a platform committed to forming an action plan to incorporate Laudato Si’ values into universities and other institutions.
The platform was created by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and was officially launched on Sunday. Jagger said she first learned about the Laudato Si’ platform last year when the Dicastery started posting information online about its release.
She also received materials from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, which contacted all its members’ presidents, inviting them to “join together in a positive response and commitment to the platform,” she said.
Before signing the commitment, Jagger brought the idea to the members of Newman’s Board of Trustees. They approved and members said they felt it was important for Newman to join, she said.
“We are a Catholic institution, and this is an important opportunity to join with the international church to respond to the invitation from Pope Francis and the Dicastery for all people to participate in this worldwide sacred effort to save our planet and to develop an integral ecology,” Jagger said.
Jagger said the Dicastery has specified seven goals it wants participants to work towards implementing: response to the cry of the earth, response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of sustainable lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community resilience and empowerment.
“There are resources available online and elsewhere to help plan programs and activities for each goal,” Jagger said. “There are also resources available for each of the respective groups being invited to participate in this effort, educational institutions, including colleges and universities, being one of the seven groups.”