December 18, 2015

Catholics rally in Indianapolis in support of Paris climate change conference

Catholic supporters of the United Nations climate change conference held in Paris on Nov. 30-Dec.11 hold signs in front of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Dec. 3 to raise awareness of Catholic support of the talks per Pope Francis’ call to care for creation in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home.” (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Catholic supporters of the United Nations climate change conference held in Paris on Nov. 30-Dec.11 hold signs in front of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Dec. 3 to raise awareness of Catholic support of the talks per Pope Francis’ call to care for creation in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home.” (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

In support of the United Nations (U.N.) conference on climate change in Paris and Pope Francis’ call for care of creation in his encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home,” a St. Thomas Aquinas Parish-based group in Indianapolis called Creation Care rallied on the steps of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Dec. 3.

The rally was followed by a prayer service in the cathedral led by Benedictine Sister Sheila Fitzpatrick of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove.

“We’re doing something to support the Paris conference talks every day [that they’re occurring],” said Creation Care member and St. Thomas Aquinas parishioner Sharon Horvath.

According to its webpage, the goal of the Creation Care ministry is to “explore the spiritual foundation of ecological actions,” to educate “about the importance of being good stewards of our environment” and “eco-friendly options” for homes and businesses,” and other goals more specific to the operations and environmental impact of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and School.

Horvath said that while Creation Care is a ministry of the parish, all are welcome to join—Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

She said the Dec. 3 rally was one of the activities of “12 Days to Save the World,” which according to their Facebook page was an Indiana-based initiative that called Hoosiers to “support America’s Clean Power Plan, and call on world leaders to reach a strong international climate agreement at the U.N. Climate Summit November 30-December 11.”

Other actions held around the city included a silent protest and letter delivery to Sen. Joseph Donnelly’s office in Indianapolis, a concert at the Art’s Garden at Circle Center Mall, and an “Organizing Clean Energy” training.

About 15 participants held signs in front of the cathedral bearing messages such as, “Care for our common home,” “Hear both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor (“Laudato Si,” #49),” and “Catholics care about climate change—it’s time to take action together.”

One participant even held a cardboard cutout of Pope Francis with his hand raised in welcome to cars passing by. The group received numerous honks of support from vehicles driving past them on busy North Meridian Street.

“We’re trying to bring awareness [of the conference] to people who drive by,” Horvath explained of the rally. “We want to be a Catholic presence in light of Pope Francis’ encyclical. We’re trying to put his words into action.”
 

(For more information on Creation Care, log on to www.staindy.org/church/creation-care-ministry.) †

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