(Cover photo: Domenica Reyes, GCCM).
Young Catholics from across the world are renewing their call for urgent climate action. The call was contained in a manifesto titled, “Ecological Conversion in Action”, which was issued at the end of the 3rd International Congress on the Care of Creation. Young people also committed themselves to “to live Laudato Si’ in the concreteness of our own daily lives, by developing an “ecological spirituality” (LS 216) and adopting sustainable lifestyles”. The manifesto warns that “time is running out and leaders from all sectors are showing very little ambition to embark in the rapid transformation that is needed to protect our precious common home and all its inhabitants.”
The conference was held on 19th January at the Catholic University Santa Maria La Antigua (USMA) in Panama City, during the World Youth Day. In his address to the conference participants, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson, invited young people to promote initiatives and groups aimed at their peers – in parishes and universities, for example – to spread a culture of environmental protection, the common home of peoples. Cardinal Turkson is the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, under whose patronage the conference was held. Due to funding constraints, CYNESA Executive Director, Allen Ottaro, who was scheduled to speak at the conference, was unable to attend.
To realize the commitments made in the manifesto, the young people also pledged to work together through the “Laudato Si Generation”, a new network of young Catholics committed to coordinate common efforts, learn from each other and maximize everyone’s contribution. The Laudato Si Generation was officially launched on 25th January, just after the prayer of the Way of the Cross, on the main stage of the World Youth Day. It was eventually presented to Pope Francis by Brenda Noriega, during lunch with 10 WYD participants at the San Jose Seminary.
Inaugural members of the Laudato Si Generation, currently coordinated by the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) include: International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS), International Young Catholic Students (IYCS), Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA), Don Bosco Green Alliance and Caritas Youth initiatives.
During the World Youth Day week (22nd to 25th January), the Global Catholic Climate Movement and partners in the Franciscans’ Justice, Peace, and Integrity commission, the World Youth Day secretariat, and others, coordinated activities throughout Panama City. These included dedicated prayer spaces in local parishes, “Laudato Si’ stations” in official event spaces and recycling stations at the youth festival.
CYNESA Founder- Executive Director.