Catholic-Interfaith Partnership Announcing
Small-Group Materials
on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Ecology

RENEW International, GreenFaith,
and Catholic Climate Covenant to Collaborate

Three faith-based organizations have launched a unique collaboration to produce small-group faith-sharing resources on Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, expected to be released this summer.

The eagerly anticipated encyclical will appear shortly before major international climate talks take place in Paris in December.

RENEW International, GreenFaith, and the Catholic Climate Covenant are collaborating to produce small-group resources to respond to this important encyclical. Designed for use in parishes and on college campuses, the small-group resources, in English and Spanish, will bring the encyclical into the lives of thousands of people. It will help members of parishes and faith communities understand the encyclical’s teachings and apply them to their lives. It will also include responses to the encyclical from religious leaders from diverse faith traditions.

In the encyclical, Pope Francis is expected to build on the foundation laid by his predecessors, Saint John Paul II, who wrote extensively about the relationship between Catholic tradition and ecology, and Benedict XVI, who argued for environmental stewardship and action to address climate change as a moral imperative.

In a vision that embraces the human person and the natural environment in all their dimensions, Pope Francis is expected to establish as a top priority for Catholics, and for all people, care for God’s creation and mitigation of human activity that harms living things and natural resources.

Sr. Terry Rickard, OP, president and executive director of RENEW International, said the care of creation is an important dimension of the New Evangelization which Pope Francis speaks about in his exhortation The Joy of the Gospel. “With the popularity of Pope Francis, this is a tremendous opportunity to help people make the connection between their faith and the care of creation, and this is integral to our mission at RENEW International,” she said.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, said he is excited about Pope Francis’ encyclical and the collaboration with RENEW International and the Catholic Climate Covenant. “The encyclical’s message will resonate across many faith communities,” he said. “This partnership will help a diverse range of people understand the importance of its message, and motivate many to take action.”

Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, expects the pope’s message to affect public attitudes and behavior in a significant way. “Few would doubt the enormous impact that Pope Francis’ upcoming ecological encyclical will have on moving the world to action on climate change. History will show this to be a turning point in the environmental movement,” he said.

The small-group materials, to be released in late fall 2015, will include:
    • 12 faith-sharing sessions, in English and Spanish, with reflections on spiritual experiences in God’s creation and on the teachings of Pope Francis found in the encyclical
    • Global perspectives on the ecological crisis from Catholic leaders around the world, particularly as the crisis impacts poor and vulnerable people
    • Opportunities for participants to take specific actions to become better stewards of the environment and connections to Catholic organizations taking action in the public arena, including the St. Francis Pledge and the interfaith Our Voices campaign

RENEW International, the Catholic Climate Covenant, and GreenFaith are leaders in their fields. GreenFaith is a leading interfaith environmental organization that mobilizes diverse faith communities for environmental leadership. The Catholic Climate Covenant is a partnership of the top Catholic organizations and works to integrate Catholic teaching and spur action on climate change throughout the Catholic community. RENEW International helps dioceses and parishes to create small groups in which adult Catholics encounter Christ in Scripture and prayer, share their faith with each other, and connect it to action in their everyday lives.

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