At a recent monthly meeting, the St. Benedict Creation Care Team held an informational session to inform those interested in living out Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment called "Laudato Si" or "On Care For Our Common Home."
Michael Nunziato, St. Benedict Creation Care Team coordinator, told those attending that the team's framework is made up of three ideas, "What creation care means to the individual, what it means to your parish, and what it means to Western New York."
With their framework the Creation Care Team has three basic goals: understanding "Laudato Si," getting involved in the parish community and getting involved in the Western New York community as a whole.
Written by Pope Francis, "Laudato Si" guides the team's actions. The encyclical calls for the Church and the world to accept the urgency of environmental challenges and to join Pope Francis on a new path.
"How can we better care for creation, this wonderful creation God has given us?" asked Deacon Ted Pijacki, a member of the diocesan Care for Creation Committee.
At each future monthly meeting, the group will discuss a passage or concept of "Laudato Si" and what it means to the individual. "That is where it has to take root with us," said Nunziato.
The Creation Care Team will also work on ideas that can be implemented at the parish and school levels. One idea that already has come to fruition is the installation of solar panels on the roof of St. Benedict Church and School in Eggertsville.
In order to become more involved in the Western New York region, the St. Benedict Creation Care Team also discussed taking part in the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeepers Spring Shoreline Sweep on April 21. According to their website, the sweep is the largest single-day shoreline cleanup in Western New York during which volunteers pick up garbage along the river.
Also during the meeting, Creation Care Team members and other attendees brainstormed how they could put "Laudato Si" into practice.
Deacon Pijacki started the discussion by asking those attending who use plastic bags when they go shopping. He talked about how plastic bags pose a danger to the environment because they do not naturally biodegrade. The plastic breaks down to smaller toxic petropolymers that enter the soil, water and, eventually, the food chain.
Deacon Pijacki stated that if one person traded his or her plastic bags for a reusable cloth bag, that could save six plastic bags a week. This led to several side discussions about where reusable bags can be found and how they can be used differently.
Deacon Pijacki said this form of discussion was what the Creation Care Team was looking to start.
"This is what we want," Deacon Pijacki said. "Practical things, shared wisdom."
For more information about the St. Benedict Creation Care Team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Diocesan Creation Care Team or for information on how to start your own Creation Care Team, visit www.buffalodiocese.org/transforming-the-world/care-for-creation or contact Sister Sharon Goodremote, FSSJ, at email@example.com.