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Climate conference held at Creighton University

About 225 people gathered June 27-29 at Creighton University in Omaha to explore the ecological, economic and policy implications of climate change. 

The event was the first of three biennial conferences, titled “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home,” aimed at promoting application of the principles contained in Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” on the issue of climate change and its effects on poor communities around the world.

Archbishop George J. Lucas and Creighton President Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson welcomed attendees during the opening session.

The archbishop called the event a “groundbreaking initiative (that) will help Catholics more deeply encounter Jesus in God’s creation, equip key ministries to better integrate Laudato Si’, and enable people to mercifully and lovingly live the three relationships that ‘ground ... human life’: ‘with God, with our neighbor and with the earth itself.’”

Keynote speakers included Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego and Meghan Goodwin, associate director of government relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Bishop McElroy proposed three initiatives to confront the environmental challenges:

• a broad, interfaith movement of religious and cultural renewal rooted in God’s identity as Creator

• launching within the culture of the United States a conversion from environmental denial to environmental reality

• in the U.S. Catholic community, empowering children as the prophetic voice of environmental justice in the country  

The event also included plenary and breakout sessions with educators, theologians and climate experts. It was sponsored by Creighton University and the Catholic Climate Covenant, a partnership of 18 organizations, including the USCCB, to promote care for creation and the poor.

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