The justice and peace staff of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men serve as part of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering planning team. This group works all year long to prepare for the annual national conference that draws 800-1,000 participants to Washington, DC, every February from across the US.

For the virtual 2021 conference, CMSM’s role included amplifying the sustainability work of the Augustinians in the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova for a panel on Laudato Si. Our Fellow for Justice and Peace, Dr. Bethany Welch, helped facilitate the panel, which included Augustinian Father Arthur Purcaro.

The panel was covered by the National Catholic Reporter.

At a panel focusing on efforts across the country to advance the pope’s 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” Jose Aguto, associate director of Catholic Climate Covenant, described the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which will officially launch in May.

The platform charts a path for seven levels of the church — families, parishes, dioceses, schools, colleges and universities, religious orders, and healthcare institutions — to become fully sustainable in the spirit of the encyclical within seven years. Aguto said it will set goals and metrics in four areas: spirituality, social action, advocacy and sustainability.

“The Vatican is seeking to lift up care for creation across every single Catholic institution,” he said.

Catholic Climate Covenant is heading up U.S. implementation of the action platform. In preparation, it has worked with Catholic organizations in each of the seven sectors and consulted with environmental justice groups, communities of color and rural communities. A rollout of U.S. plans is expected a few weeks after the Vatican’s official launch on May 24.

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