Students at St. Dominic Academy in Lewiston studied Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Sí, in which he writes about the urgent need to care for creation, a gift to us from God. The pope points to the threats posed by climate change, our throwaway culture, and the inequitable and overuse of natural resources.
“The pope sent a message to us saying that we need to use less of the earth’s natural resources, because if we use too many, we’re going to destroy this earth, and it won’t be around for future generations to enjoy,” explains one student.
The students watched an animated video about Laudato Sí and listened to a presentation by Bill Wood, an outreach coordinator with Catholic Charities Maine Parish Social Ministry (PSM). The Laudato Sí teaching and art project is offered to schools and faith formation classes as part of PSM’s EcoJoy initiative.
“We don’t want to forget about the environmental aspects of Catholic social teaching, so this gives us a chance to work with school kids to share that information,” explains Wood.
“This message is so important for our young students to understand, because this is the world that they’re growing into, and this is the world that we are leaving behind for them,” explains Rachel Hatch, St. Dom’s elementary art teacher. “The reality is we can make a difference, and we can change the world.”
The students discussed what they learned and then were asked to draw and write about it.
“Art gives the opportunity to come up with some creative ideas, and it allows for expression of these ideas. What some kids might not be able to say with words they can convey on paper,” says Hatch.
Read more about the students' drawings and essays in Harvest magazine here.