Global Catholic Climate Movement convenes strategic planning discussions in Rome, Assisi

As temperatures rise and extreme weather increases around the world, 2018 offers pivotal opportunities to turn the tide on climate change. To guide our work for the year ahead, 12 staff members from Global Catholic Climate Movement gathered in Rome and Assisi, heartlands of our faith, for a strategic planning meeting.

Coming from Ecuador, Brazil, Poland, the United States, and elsewhere in Italy, our staff brought global perspectives to the shared goal of caring for our common home. Below are 4 highlights of our week together.

Pope Francis speaking with Tomás Insua.

1: Conversation with Pope Francis

During a papal audience, executive director Tomás Insua greeted Pope Francis and discussed a few of GCCM’s top initiatives for 2018. During their conversation, Tomás gave the pope a rosary that was handmade by a Laudato Si’ Animator. The rosary was strung with beads created from the seeds of a tree that grows in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was a unique gift, celebrating Pope Francis’ special concern for the Amazon and its peoples.

In 2018, GCCM will continue responding to Pope Francis’ call to “hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”

Fr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, secretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, and Dicastery staff with GCCM team

2: Collaboration with the Vatican

GCCM enjoyed a long and wide-ranging conversation with the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. The dicastery is the Vatican office responsible for the implementation of Laudato Si’.

The conversation, which was shared by the secretary and several key staff members, strengthened the bonds we share. Aligning our plans is a valuable opportunity to work together in pursuit of mutual goals.

Throughout 2018 and beyond, GCCM will closely collaborate with the dicastery to support its mission. Contributing to the dicastery’s work in animating the Church to achieve measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is a top priority.

Bishop of Assisi, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, and Fra Mauro Gambetti, custodian of the Sacro Convento of Assisi, with GCCM staff members after a mass led by the bishop at St. Francis’ tomb

3: Roots and growth in Assisi

Assisi is the spiritual home of all those who follow St. Francis, patron saint of ecological service. The bishop of Assisi, Abp Sorrentino, graciously led two masses for GCCM staff and friends, one at the site of St. Francis’ renunciation and one at St. Francis’ tomb.

Following mass at the tomb, Fra Mauro Gambetti warmly opened the doors of the Sacro Convento, where he is the custodian responsible for the care and maintenance of this centuries-old institution. GCCM staff ate with the friars and guests in their dining hall and enjoyed a tour of the frescoes in the basilica.

For Season of Creation 2018, GCCM will coordinate an ecumenical prayer service in the Sacro Convento with high-level leaders from several Christian traditions. This event will be one of several on the theme of “pilgrimage” to illuminate the season in advance of the COP24 talks in Poland.

GCCM team members in Assisi. Not pictured: Mateusz Bednarkiewicz, Daniela Finamore, Sondra Grover

4: Global campaigns for 2018

During our week together, the GCCM team reviewed projects that will mobilize the Church to address the climate crisis, following the call of our faith to protect creation and the most vulnerable. Campaigns for Earth Day, Season of Creation, the Global Climate Action Summit, and COP24 were developed. As importantly, the bonds of friendship were strengthened and renewed.

Working together and guided by the Holy Spirit, GCCM staff remain extraordinarily committed to drawing on the unique strengths of the Catholic Church to solve the climate crisis.

We look forward to collaborating with you and the wider Church in bringing Laudato Si to life.