Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ second encyclical subtitled, “Care for Our Common Home” was released in the spring of 2015 in conjunction with the start of the Franciscan Volunteer Program. Pope Francis, who took his name to be in solidarity with Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan movement, calls us to respect both the “human and social dimensions” of our world in connection with all creation. He calls this an “Integral Ecology.”
Today we face a global crisis. The gap between the wealthy and those who are poor is greater than ever and climate change is a serious concern that threatens our future on this planet. As Franciscans we seek to address these concerns holistically. We cannot heal the Earth without healing its inhabitants. This is why our program has ministry opportunities that fulfill both these needs. Franciscan Volunteers work in both direct service to those who are poor and marginalized as well as in sites that work to address systemic change to better our environment.
“An integral ecology is inseparable from the notion of the common good, a central and unifying principle of social ethics. The common good is ‘the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members’ relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.’” (Laudato Si, 122)