“Healing Ourselves Healing Our Planet”

12 May 08 | Posted in Arts and Letters, U.S. Catholic

This weekend workshop will explore ways we understand the spirituality of human health and sacred creation.

Participants will reflect on the work of Thomas Berry, Sandra Schneiders, the World Council of Churches and others in consideration of peace, creation and the environment. Berry has written “Human health is a sub-system of Earth’s health. You cannot have well humans on a sick planet.” The featured speaker is Dennis Patrick O’Hara, DC, ND, Ph.D., a professor of ethics and eco-theology at St. Michael’s College. 

The program will be held at Calvary Retreat Center, located 40 minutes west of Boston.  Offering: $225, which includes room, program and meals.dennis_ohara_march_04.jpg

Sr. Joan Brown’s Love of Creation

9 May 08 | Posted in Stewardship, U.S. Catholic

Joan Brown, OSF wrote an inspiring article for U.S. Catholic Magazine on the environment. It discussed the background and focus for her Ecology Ministry, and how love of creation has deep roots in our Catholic spiritual tradition. s-joan-brown.jpg

“One night when I was six years old, while walking outdoors before bed, I gazed at the sky and found myself wrapped in the vast mantle of stars, the Milky Way. Standing in awe, my body felt both small and large. In that instant I felt God.”

“The natural world has always taught us about God. Thirteenth-century mystic Meister Eckhardt said, ‘Creation is a revelation of God, a home for God, a temple for God.’ But with the growth of industrialization, technology, materialism, and consumerism, we have been lulled to sleep, forgetting who we are and our place on earth.”

“Our Catholic and Christian spiritual tradition–its saints, sacramentality, and practices–can help us to navigate this new challenge. In fact, the ecological crisis may very well lead us into a deeper relationship with God and help awaken us to the true meaning of life, which is loving all that exists.”

“Passionist Father Thomas Berry, the most influential Catholic eco-theologian, speaks of this time in history as a moment of grace, yet because of the urgency of this crisis, the transformation of our understanding of who we are must take place in a short period. Celebrating the wonders around us is part of our vocation to love and serve God and might very well be the path that can transform our lifestyles from consumerism to sustainability.”

Joan Brown directs efforts with the faith community through her work in Ecology Ministry. She is a Sister of the Rochester, Minnesota Franciscans; President of the Partnership for Earth Spirituality in Albuquerque, New Mexico; serves on the board of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; Vice President of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL) and chairs the NMIPL’s education committee.

Her work entails organizing, education, outreach, retreats and advocacy around water, climate change and sustainable living. Brown is the co-founder of Tierra Madre, a sustainable and self-help strawbale community for people of low income in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Joan Brown, OSF is one of those people who makes you feel proud to be Catholic. Hers is a prophetic ministry for this century.

Christians and Buddhists Together

2 May 08 | Posted in Stewardship, Vatican

Christians and Buddhists share a common concern for the environment and can do more to protect the planet that is home for us all, says the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, president of the council, and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary, affirmed this in a greeting sent to Buddhists for their festival of Vesakh.buddha1.jpg

Noting that the U.N. general assembly declared 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth, Cardinal Tauran and Archbishop Celata affirmed that “Christians and Buddhists respect the same creation and have a common concern to promote care for the environment which we all share.”

“Christianity and Buddhism have always upheld a great respect for nature and taught we should be grateful stewards of the earth,” the note continued. “Indeed it is only through a profound reflection on the relationship between the divine Creator, creation and creatures that attempts to address environmental concerns will not be marred by individual greed or hampered by the interests of particular groups.”

The pontifical council message asked if more could be done on a practical level, and proposed: “Recycling, energy conservation, the prevention of indiscriminate destruction of plant and animal life, and the protection of waterways all speak of careful stewardship and indeed foster goodwill and promote cordial relations among peoples.”

“In this way,” the note concluded, “Christians and Buddhists together can be harbingers of hope for a clean, safe and harmonious world.”