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Loyola Commits to Sustainability Action Through Journey to Integral Ecology

Zack Miller | The PhoenixThe university followed the Pope’s 2015 call to care for the earth.

Loyola committed to the Vatican’s Seven-Year Journey to Integral Ecology — an action platform between the Vatican, citizens and Catholic institutions to combat climate change— according to a Nov. 15 email. 

The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development officially enrolled Loyola in the Journey Nov. 14. 

This commitment focuses on the goals of “Laudato Si’”, an encyclical letter — a message from the Pope to the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church — written by Pope Francis titled “On Care for Our Common Home.”

“The Journey is an exciting global collaboration that puts the principles of ‘Laudato Si’’ into action and calls us to answer the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth with bold, coordinated, and measurable action,” Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney wrote in the email.

The email detailed the intentions of Loyola’s commitment to the Journey. These include incorporating the Laudato Si’ goals into the university’s environmental programs and ensuring faith-engaged participation in environmental programs.

The Luadato Si’ goals include responding to climate change, promoting eco-justice, adapting sustainable lifestyles, ecological education and spirituality and community involvement on various levels.

The university also said it’s focused on sharing the university’s progress, providing the Vatican Dicastery with an institutional environmental assessment within the first year and annually reporting the university’s Journey experience to the Vatican Dicastery.

“Our discernment and action steps connect with the larger action of mitigating climate crisis,” the email said.

“This is another commitment that Loyola is taking in saying that the impending climate crisis is a serious problem and that we’re going to do our part in taking action to mitigate it,” Shriya Patel, a senior at Loyola, said.

The Journey focuses on furthering sustainability efforts to care for the earth and society. This Journey has guidelines for people in seven social sectors: families, parishes, schools, hospitals, businesses, organizations and religious orders.

Michael Schuck, a professor of theology at Loyola, has been leading the Universities Working Group of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development since March 2021. 

The group’s work has focused on preparing and promoting Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology among universities. 

“We secured 100 commitments from university presidents around the world to join the Journey by the official launch date of November 14, with LUC being one of them,” Schuck said. “We will now continue soliciting new universities to join and we work to assist them.”

Other Jesuit universities involved in the action program include Creighton University, Fairfield University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Maryland and Santa Clara University.

“LUC’s School of Environmental Sustainability has played a key role in the Vatican effort to launch Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Journey worldwide,” Schuck said. 

The group’s work included creating a website, University Pathways, to promote participation from administration and students and created a video to explain the Journey to university people.

“This commitment comes with action steps, I just hope that rings true and concrete actions are taken and that these actions are centering the voices and ideas of those most impacted,” Patel said.

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