Source: Vatican News/Laudato Si Movement
The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) has a new name, with the blessing of Pope Francis: the Laudato Si' Movement. It was announced on 29 July in a webinar attended by more than 8,000 participants from around the world.
Tomás Insua, executive director of LSM, described the move as the result of a "synodal journey" aimed at a deeper ecological conversion.
Cardinal Michael Czerny from the Vatican Dicastry for Promoting Human Development said: "This name is a prayer.. When we name the movement now, every time we name it, we're saying a prayer."
The Global Catholic Climate Movement was founded in 2015 and inspired by the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si' that year. It was a nascent group when it organised for Catholics to meet up in Paris during the Paris climate talks of December 2O15. Two of the founders, Tomas Insua and Patrick Carolan of the Franciscan Action Network, chaired the meeting, and expressed gratitude to other founders including Fr John Leydon, an Irish Columban working in the Philippines. Ghanaian Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye of Kumasi, the President of Caritas Africa and second vice-president of Caritas Internationalis, opened the gathering with a prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to be at COP21 and asking for God's help, "for us to develop our strategy to protect the Earth for future generations". Columban Missionaries and Westminster J&P from Britain sat alongside Caritas Internationalis, CIDSE, Trocaire, Jesuit European Social Centre, Ecojesuit, Franciscans International, People's Pilgrimage. Augustinian Recollects - Philippines, and Chrétiens Unis pour la Terre. There were Franciscans from India, Australia, Brazil, Netherlands and Rome, and Jesuits from Philippines, Belgium and Spain; also Capuchin JPIC from the US and Ecuador, and an Assumption priest. All described that meeting as "inspiring."
Today, the Laudato Si Movement is a Catholic movement made up of more than 800 organisations and thousands of Laudato Si' Animators around the world. There are more than 30 in Britain alone. In 2020, on the fifth anniversary of its founding, the movement initiated a major discernment process about its identity, mission, name, and structures. This process was developed in a synodal spirit, involving its members through several rounds of consultations. One of the most important changes of this process has been the organisation's new mission statement: "To inspire and mobilise the Catholic community to care for our common home and to achieve climate and ecological justice." It acknowledges the "ever-worsening" cries of the Earth and of the poor and the interconnection of environmental, social and peace issues.
Dr Lorna Gold, Chair of the Board of Directors said: "It is important to note that the mission is being broadened to include the concept of ecological justice, based on the spirit of Laudato Si', where 'everything is interconnected.' This new mission reflects a broader and more coherent vision with Laudato Si', which was the spark that motivated the founding of the movement in the beginning."
Tomás Insua, now Executive Director, said: "The main reason, beyond the difficulties of the previous name which was too long, was that we felt that Global Catholic Climate Movement no longer represented what we were really doing. From practically its beginning, the movement has developed its activities from the integral vision of Laudato Si', much broader than the climate crisis."
Fr Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Head of the Vatican's Ecology and Creation Office, said: "What a beautiful name, 'Laudato Si' Movement', which reveals your identity, what you are and what you should be. And we will be praying that you may be inspired by the vision of Laudato Si' to take care of our common home, to listen to the cry of the Earth and of the poor, inflamed by the sense of justice but also by the theology and spirituality of this Gospel of Creation."
Friends of the movement, including author and 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Paris Climate Agreement architect Christiana Figueres, also offered their best wishes.
Confirmation of the new name came from Pope Francis: "We sent the Pope a letter explaining the synodal process we had followed and asking for his blessing to change the name; the Pope's response, in the form of a written message, came providentially on the eve of Pentecost, during this year's Laudato Si' Week," said Yeb Saño, Filipino Vice President of the movement, who was also at that GCCM meeting in Paris six years ago.
The handwritten note from Pope Francis reads: "To the Laudato Si' Movement: Thank you for the mission of promoting integral ecology and for the help you offer to the Church throughout the world. Happy Laudato Si' Week. Fraternally, Francis".
In a statement, the Laudato Si' Movement said the name change is a responsibility for, "to live up to our name means to truly be a movement that brings Laudato Si' to life in our communities and world, beyond the Catholic community alone." And it quoted Laudato Si' para 244, which hoped that, "our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope."
The Movement will play a huge part in promoting the Laudato Si Action Platform, due to be launched on 4 October, the Feast of St Francis.
Announcement video and messages at: