Creighton Hosts First in a Series of Planned Conferences on the Climate

Creighton Hosts First in a Series of Planned Conferences on the Climate

We know climate change is an issue. We know it’s an ecological issue. We know it’s an economic issue. We know it’s a policy issue.

But at the inaugural gathering of “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,” held at Creighton June 27-29, one thing was clear: We need to start looking at climate change as a spiritual issue.

The gathering at Creighton was the first of three planned biennial conferences. All are aimed at inspiring current and future environmental and Church leaders to more thoroughly execute Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical decrying climate change and its devastating effects on poor communities around the world.

Sponsored by Creighton and the Catholic Climate Covenant, the conference featured addresses from spiritual leaders and environmental advocates. Following the lectures, conference participants split up into small groups and discussed how to integrate Laudato Si’ into eight areas of Catholic life: adult faith, advocacy, creation care teams, energy management, higher education, liturgy, school education and young adult ministry.

“You have been selected to be here at this time because of the urgency of this moment, because our common home is in serious jeopardy. You answered the call because you care,” Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, told the crowd. “We all have been chosen to be co-creators with God on this beautiful blue planet that is under threat by our own hand.”

Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, welcomed visitors to campus and outlined the ways the University has committed itself to environmental responsibility: reducing greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity by almost 25%, installing solar and wind energy systems on campus, and pledging to be carbon neutral before 2050.

In addition, he said, Creighton’s bachelor’s degree programs in sustainability and environmental science offer students the chance to learn about ecological issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.

“In a sense, we at Creighton University have committed ourselves to help the Catholic Church discern adequate responses to the contemporary challenges like ecological degradation and climate change,” he said. “In many ways, this commitment emerges from our mission and experience: Discernment is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality which grounds our University, and Creighton continues to discern what prudent care for God’s creation requires of us.”