April 22, 2020 — For many Jesuit organizations and ministries, Earth Day, on April 22, is typically celebrated with a slew of public lectures, retreats and service projects that care for our common home. Now, many of these gatherings are canceled or moved online. While Earth Day may feel different this year, connecting with creation is just as vital in this time of isolation.
In many ways, coronavirus reminds us that we are all interconnected, interdependent on one another and on our Earth. Like many constants in our lives, we often take the Earth and its resources for granted. On this Earth Day, let us listen to creation and examine our relationship with Earth’s natural resources and with the poor and the vulnerable.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis prays, “Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.” In this time of illness, we unite in a vision of a healthier world that honors human dignity and cares for our common home.
Below is an Ignatian Earth Day guide with virtual reflections, resources and lectures to help you celebrate and connect with our beautiful world.
Pray & Reflect
The poetry of Greg Kennedy, SJ, calls our attention to our relationship with Earth and cautions against our culture of consumption, which assumes ownership of natural resources.
Kennedy works at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Canada, which holds spiritual retreats and promotes ecological stewardship through farming and forest growth programs. Despite program cancellations, local hikers still trek the Centre’s trails (at a safe social distance), seeking the peace and beauty of the natural world.
For many of us, quarantines have moved our lives indoors and online. This Earth Day, take time to step away from technology, go outside if you can, and experience creation. Start with this meditative prayer written and read by Eric Clayton.
For more prayer resources, take part in our Ecological Examen.
As president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Rodney Bordeaux has dedicated his career to fighting social and environmental injustice in his community. In this short interview, Bordeaux describes the fight for water and land rights, especially as oil pipelines threaten to contaminate reservation water sources.
Through these global reflections on ecological justice, indigenous and church leaders take up Pope Francis’ call for to live in harmony with the natural world and with one another.
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. Join us in celebrating Laudato Si’ Week as we unite in solidarity for a more just and sustainable future.
Take part in these virtual events with the Ignatian family as we celebrate Earth Day.
- Ignatian Solidarity Networks Earth Week Carbon Challenge
- Seattle University Earth Talks
- Sustainability in the Time of COVID-19 from Loyola University Chicago
- Earth Month Resources from Creighton University
- Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Week
- Hearing the Cry of the Amazon Webinar with Global Catholic Climate Movement