As followers of the patron saint of ecology, Franciscans are used to gathering at rallys and vigils for the climate, as in the above photo from a Washington Rally in 2017.
Due to the coronavirus, this year Franciscans all over the country are virtually marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si in various ways. Here are a few initiatives we are privileged to have heard about from our members and friends.
FAN Member Carolyn D. Townes, OFS is the National Animator of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation for the U.S. Secular Franciscan Order and has developed a Creation 3-2-1 resource which includes 3 excerpts about Creation Justice, 2 quotes from Laudato Si with short reflections, and 1 question to ponder or call to action. This weekly email will go out to the Secular Franciscan family for the next 19 weeks, leading up to the Season of Creation in September.
For #EarthDay, the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, IA put together this short video with ideas about how we can all help to Care for Creation and mitigate the effects of climate change. Check it out: https://youtu.be/0qWDbTXGzII
Mesilla Park, NM
The Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, NM will hold a special mass for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a program afterwards that describes the strong connection between St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and care for our common home.
In Cincinnati, Ohio the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor will have a prayer petition included during their Evening Praise on April 22nd.
The Associates of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor have been recognizing the Anniversary by posting excerpts from Laudato Si on their Facebook page since Tuesday, March 3rd, 50 days before Earth Day.
The Wheaton Franciscans will take a break from their Provincial Chapter meeting on Earth Day to have a tree planting ceremony on their motherhouse grounds.
Additionally, their community sisters in the Netherlands were each given a very small tree in a tube of glass (pictured). A card was added to the little trees containing a quote from environmentalist Greta Thunberg: “Nobody is too small to make a difference.”
These trees were nourished and supported during the winter months and will be planted this Spring in the gardens around the motherhouse.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia hosted a week of Earth Day prayers and actions including a beautiful musical version of the Canticle of the Sun written by Andrea Likovich, OSF.
Santa Barbara, CA
The Franciscans for Justice have put together this short video of soothing images and music as a “gift for Earth Day.” Check it out on YouTube: https://youtu.be/A4O3ydr9NuM
Ellicott City, MD
FAN friends Patrick and Stella Carolan celebrated Earth Day at the Little Portion Farm which is a ministry of the Franciscan Friars Conventual. The crops grown at the farm provide fresh food for the poor through the Franciscan Center of Baltimore.