This week, we are graciously celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of Pope Francis’ historic Encyclical, ‘Laudato Si:’ On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis encourages all people of good will to learn more about the consequences of our common home and to discover how we can answer Pope Francis’ call to action. “I urgently appeal . . . for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all (Laudato Si, 14).” The environmental justice program has been working closely with several parish community of the Diocese of Stockton to explore the consequences of our common home and further continue dialogue about environmental justice issues in their parish communities.

This past year, 11 Diocesian parish communities and approximately 1,800 parish members have participated in Laudato Si workshops. For example, for the parish community of St. Jude’s of Ceres, we spoke to youth confirmation students, parents of religious education students and catechists about Laudato Si. Furthermore, currently we are working with some members of the parish on the Ceres General Plan Update, which is the policy for future physical development and future growth of the city of Ceres. St. Frances of Rome of Riverbank we presented to various Justicia Brota de la Fe groups. From those workshops the Outreach and Social Justice Ministry purchased 500 reusable bags with parish logo and mission: To love, to serve and unite through the Eucharist. This week, the environmental justice team will be making a presentation in English and Spanish to the parish community of Laudato Si. Finally, we have worked several ministry groups (Health Ministry, Social Justice, Justicia Brota de la Fe group and Life Night High School Youth Group) St. Stanislaus of Modesto. The social justice group decided to work on water quality issues, proposed water rate increases by the City of Modesto and learning more about their local utilities (water, light and gas). In the next two weeks, EJ Staff will be presenting in Spanish and English Laudato Si and our water resources workshop.

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