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Saint Mary’s to offer new program for ’Laudato Si’ anniversary

| Tuesday, September 15, 2020

In light of Pope Francis’s announcement of the special anniversary celebration of the ‘Laudato Si,’ the Center for Spirituality of Saint Mary’s College is sponsoring a new study-faith-in-action program.

The program consists of one to two environmentally-related service projects or immersion experiences, one lecture related to ‘Laudato Si’ and one to two prayer experiences related to care for God’s creation. Students will also attend face-to-face discussion groups about how to take care of the common good and common home, as defined by Francis in the encyclical, throughout the academic year.

“‘Laudato Si:’ On Care for Our Common Home” is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. Originally published in 2015, it urged people all over the globe to care for the planet and the poor. Francis declared a special year of observance from May 2020-2021 regarding the goals of the encyclical for its fifth anniversary.

“I invite all people of goodwill to take part, to care for our common home and our most vulnerable brothers and sisters,” Francis said in May when he made the announcement.

The program is open for “students [who] may be looking to deepen their knowledge on environmental and social issues or to deepen their personal spirituality and commitment to action,” Arlene Montevecchio, the director of the Center for Spirituality, said in an email.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other hardships facing the world today, participants will also be invited to reflect on their experiences in a formal presentation at the conclusion of the program, she said.

The ‘Laudato si’ program will be run by Montevecchio. She plans on inviting faculty guest speakers to discuss topics including ecosystems, food waste and recovery, eco-friendly lifestyle choices such as vegan eating and the sacraments and spirituality of ‘Laudato Si.’

The program will extend into the spring second semester. Depending on the state of the country at that time in regards to the pandemic, Montevecchio said students may also have the opportunity to participate in environmental service projects.

The ‘Laudato si’ program is designed for students who wish to “learn more about their own faith, the spiritual and social vision of Pope Francis, and how to make a difference for environmental and social justice,” Montevecchio said.

This program is only open to eight to ten Saint Mary’s students, and students who wish to apply should email Montevecchio. Participants will also receive a $300 stipend and certificate along with a copy of ‘Laudato Si’ and a journal. Applications are due by Sept. 16.

The College is hosting a lecture series on the same encyclical anniversary this October entitled the 2020 Fall Endowed Lectures Series: A Year of ‘Laudato Si.’ The series is sponsored by the Saint Mary’s College Annual Endowed Lecture Series Fund.

The first panel discussion set for Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. is “The Reception of Laudato Si.’” The second panel is entitled “The Signs of the Times and Laudato Si,’” and will be held Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. Both panels will be held virtually.

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