As People of Faith, How Will We Care for Our Common Home?

As part of the Franciscan Family in Paris, Franciscan Action Network is proud to bring you blog postings from some of our delegates. These blogs will be written each day by a different delegate on the ground in Paris, attending #COP21 meetings, side events and the Franciscan Delegation Meetings.

The following reflection is by Marcia Lee, JPIC Coordinator for the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.

Today is our last day together as the Franciscan Family Coalition at COP21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. We will spend the day in reflection and dialog on how to move forward as a Franciscan Family. We have listened, learned, and are grateful for the ways in which you have prayed with and supported us on this journey thus far. We know that this is only a small step along the journey. We are hopeful that you will continue with great commitment to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

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United Nations COP21 Climate Change Forum


We have heard and believe it to be true, that climate change is the Cold War of our time. If we do not stop climate change, there is an eminent threat to human existence and the rest of creation. We have seen from countries all over the world that there are disagreements on how to address this issue and we have seen the very corporations that have contributed the greatest to climate change are also the ones that are now advising some of our countries. We have seen that the governments are having a difficult time agreeing on exactly what point worldwide disaster will happen and which cultures they will save from climate change and which they will discard. We have seen them start the conversation from how do we prevent the worst versus what is the best that we can do for all of creation.

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Climate activists in the Generation Climate Space at COP21


So what do we do as a community of faith? What is my role and my responsibility to future generations? What can one person or one community do that can make a difference when the main polluters of our world are corporations and individual lifestyle change can only impact little?


For me, I often feel hopeless or that our actions are small, but I also believe that we have no choice now but to take actions as a collective Franciscan Family. We need each other. “The world is too dangerous for anything but the truth and too small for anything but love.” ~William Sloane Coffin. To live in love with all that God has created is to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.


We see that we cannot do this work alone, even as Catholics, we are not enough. We have to walk closely with all others who feel the deep threat of climate change in their daily lives. We understand that the foundation of why we do this work is because of our faith. We see in the Pope’s message in Laduato Si that “A church committed to defend and serve the poor must work to find solutions (to climate change) that will have its greatest impact on the poorest countries, communities, and families.”

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Pope Francis writing in Laduato Si


Yesterday evening, we attended an interfaith prayer a celebration of multi-faith presence at COP21. At the prayer service we recognized that many different faith communities have mobilized around this issue and have come together with these declarations. We understand from reflection that, at the base of our scriptures, it is through community that we are saved.


We heard from people representing the Buddhists, Muslims, Christians (Lutherans and Catholics), Hindus, and Universal Universalist. Each faith community has its own declaration for the climate. In addition to the declarations that we heard about at the prayer celebration, there are many other people of faith who have made declarations about climate change that this is not only an issue of politics, but that it is actually one that is essential to each of our faiths.

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Presentation at the interfaith prayer celebration by Gopal Patel, Director of the Bhumi Project


In addition, we heard from The People’s Pilgrimage about their journey of 1,500 kilometers from Rome to Paris. The People’s Pilgrimage is an open source response from the human heart to the climate crisis. It’s a way for everyone – of all faiths and none – to share our hopes and fears, and call for action on climate this year.

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Members of the People’s Pilgrimage and the Franciscan Family after the prayer celebration


We see in each of these examples, people of faith making commitments for this most important issue of our time. If we do not take care for creation, our common home, we will have nothing else. I invite you to sign the petition that is most close to your own faith practice, to deeply reflect on how you are living your life, and take actions politically and individually to not only stop climate change but to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.


Now is the time. How will you align your faith in service with the care of our common home?


Marcia Lee

Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator

for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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