The archdiocese of Los Angeles has launched a Creation Sustainability Ministry on Oct. 4. Its mission: "educating and inspiring Catholics and others in the broader community to act out of reverence and respect for God's creation."
Directly involved in the creation of the ministry were the archdiocesan Offices of Justice and Peace and Synod Implementation/Stewardship.
In an Oct. 4 letter introducing the effort, Cardinal Roger Mahony cited Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 World Day of Peace message: "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation." Cardinal Mahony urged parishioners not to remain indifferent to "environmental issues and their profound impact on humanity."
"From our perspective, creation is a statement of faith," said Ramon Posada, ministry chairperson and philosophy and religion professor at East Los Angeles College. "It implies that there is a loving Creator from which we came from and who calls us to participate in this loving action in the world we live in."
At a practical level, Posada said, hanging energy efficient bulbs or installing solar panels help change the environment, but the ministry's perspective goes further, reminding people that they have been endowed with gifts by God to be "co-creators," participating in the community not just for themselves, but for those around them.
The ministry includes three sub-committees:
Justice: Assist people in finding solutions to their own environmental problems through networking with established organizations already working in that field.
Formation: Provide information on the environment and empower and help nurture parishioners so they can become aware and open to the call to be loving stewards of God's creation.
Development: Find ways to assist parishes in dealing with practical concerns, such as energy efficiency, or gas and water conservation.