November 13, 2020 | Simone Seym
…when I was five years old, I remember sitting on a bench behind the house towards the garden and being in awe with the beauty of the firmament, the stars, the moon, the universe. In the Book of Genesis, my most beloved reading in the Easter Vigil, God “saw how good it was”. The seven-day creation account in Gn 1:1-2:3 speaks of a God whose mere word creates a beautiful universe in which we human beings are an integral and important part. Pope Francis, in his second Encyclical Laudato Si’- On Care for our Common Home (2015) invites and encourages and urges us to an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet and accompanies us on the path to an ecological conversion.
… I grew up in deep appreciation and love for mother earth, the plants, the trees, the flowers, the vegetables, the fruits, the waters, the hills and the mountains, and all the creatures that fill each specific space on earth. I loved to use all my senses to enjoy these beauties, I loved to observe how things unfolded, and yes, I understood, that this is a mutual relationship of caring for each other.
… when I was a student, I was the speaker of a Catholic hall of residence, and as I witnessed the high amount of food waste, I lectured about and facilitated sustainable ways of nutrition and started a residence wide interest in sustainable living, abiding to the Five Rs, Reduce – Reuse – Repair – Re-purpose – Recycle.
… as a Professor in the Humanities, I organized and convened an International Symposium about Sustainability and the Humanities, with a focus on Urban Sustainability, in collaboration with the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, SOEI at the shore of Lake Superior, just minutes away from the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and a million acres of national forest, and in collaboration with the Dominican Sisters at the Eco-Justice Center, a Center for Environmental Education and Care for the Earth, in Racine, WI. The Cry for the Earth and the Cry for the Poor was heard, and many started and felt sustained in their journey of ecological conversion.
… and then, I attended a talk about our Holy Father’s second Encyclical Laudato Si’, by my fellow parishioner, Dr. Tony Annett, here at our beloved Cathedral. I came with big expectations, for I myself had already fallen in love with this extraordinary compendium on Care for our Common Home. My prayer for connecting this love for Laudato Si’ with my inter- and transdisciplinary work, was heard. I left that evening, and started to bring it to fulfillment.
… ever since I learned from and cooperated with climate specialists and activists all over the world, became a Climate Reality Leader, and a Laudato Si’ Animator with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and successfully completed a wonderful Franciscan course on Laudato Si’ and Integral Ecology.
I then joined the Creation Care Team at our beloved Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and assumed the role of Co-Chair in March 2020 - literally at the very last pre-Covid-19 meeting in person at the Cathedral. This is how the three consecutive Laudato-Si’ Series (1,2,3), including the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Earth Day 2020 and The Laudato Si’ 5 Celebration and a movie screening and discussion via Zoom of our Creation Care Team came about, and the celebration of the Season of Creation 2020, culminating in a beautiful Laudato Si’ Prayer Service, and continuing with upcoming Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti Series.
Who is your neighbor? In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus asks: “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” The Jewish legal expert, who asked Jesus about the identity of the “neighbor”, answered: “The one who treated him with mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (cf. Lk 10:25-37) Jesus, himself a Jew, asks us not to decide who is close enough to be our neighbor, but rather that we ourselves become neighbors to all. (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 80) - We may ask ourselves, what the identity of our neighbor is? We will hear, and read, and learn about this quite a lot in the months and years to come. In his third encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, about Human Fraternity and Solidarity, Pope Francis invites us to ponder on the dignity of each other - knowing, that we are all, sisters and brothers to each other, locally and globally.
In our Care for Creation Team, we pray, learn, explore and act together in harmony with Catholic Social Teaching and the mission of Laudato Si’ and Fratelli Tutti. As an inclusive and intergenerational Team, we would LOVE to welcome you all. Please join us via Zoom for the moment - and, Post-Covid-19, in person.
“True, a worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together. As I said in those days, “the storm has exposed our vulnerability and uncovered those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities... Amid this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about appearances, has fallen away, revealing once more the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters of one another”. (Extraordinary Moment of Prayer in Time of Epidemic, L’Osservatore Romano, 29 March 2020, p. 10; In: Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 32)
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, let us walk and talk and pray together. Join the Care for Creation Team!
If you are interested in joining St. Matthew's Creation Care Team, To encourage a deeper awareness of our duties to God’s creation and to take action at the individual, state, national and global level with a focus on prayer, ecological conversion, energy efficiency, conservation, and advocacy efforts.To learn more, visit the Creation Care page. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Co-Chairs of the Care for Creation Team, Simone Seym and Phil Downey. You may also contact Fr. John Benson and Norma Canedo.