What is Laudato Si’ Week?

Laudato Si’ Week began as a way to celebrate the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ world-changing papal encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home.”

The encyclical has helped the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics better understand that “everything is connected” and put millennia of Catholic teaching in the context of today’s ecological crisis and climate emergency.

Pope Francis finished writing Laudato Si’ on 24 May 2015, and one year later, thousands of Catholics united to celebrate the encyclical that had already spurred prayer and action for our common home.

The next Laudato Si’ Week, which doesn’t take place every year, would occur in 2020. It was a week like no other.

Laudato Si’ Week 2020

In March 2020, Pope Francis invited Catholics to take part in the weeklong event that was to mark the fifth anniversary of the encyclical and help Catholics rejoice in the progress they had made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life and caring for creation.

But by the time Laudato Si’ Week 2020 arrived in mid-May, the COVID-19 pandemic had shut down much of the world and forced billions to quarantine at home. Catholics, like the rest of the world, were forced to adapt.

Yet across the globe, hundreds of thousands of Catholics overcame countless obstacles to honor the anniversary of the encyclical and reflect on building a better world together.

A series of online workshops were led by global leaders, including the Prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson; Paris climate agreement architect Christiana Figueras; Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffé; and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño.

The week inspired hundreds of thousands of more Catholics through media coverage from around the world, and in addition to the global workshops, hundreds of local actions gave the initiative meaning at the grassroots level.

To name only a handful of examples:

  • In Bergamo, Italy, one of the cities most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the Diocese of Bergamo invited its members to reflect on Laudato Si’ during the quarantine through online videos, a creative adaptation to the limits on social interaction.
  • In Kenya, the head bishop of the East African Episcopal Conference planted a tree in a public garden, standing in solidarity with people across the region who have suffered from unseasonal flooding and the historic locust outbreak, both made more likely by the climate crisis.
  • In Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and dozens of other countries, thousands of Catholics participated in locally organized webinars to reflect on how to bring Laudato Si’ to life in their communities and countries.
  • In the Philippines and throughout Asia, the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences encouraged the faithful to find hope together by sending WhatsApp messages about Pope Francis’ encyclical and Laudato Si’ Week.

The pandemic made it all too clear how “everything is connected,” one of the encyclical’s most transformational messages and the theme of Laudato Si’ Week 2020.

Laudato Si’ Week 2021

For Laudato Si’ Week 2021, Catholics across the globe will take part in the celebration that will serve as the crowning moment of the Laudato Si’ Special Anniversary Year.

The weeklong event will let the faithful celebrate the great progress the global Church has made in its ecological conversion journey during the past six years and offer a clear road map for the decade ahead.

We know that much remains to be done, but we rejoice and celebrate the steps we have taken thus far, and we look to the future with hope.

An ample array of workshops, trainings, and events will help us explore these themes:

  • Day of global action in which individuals, communities, and institutions around the globe will organize concrete action to care for our common home
  • Live-streamed concert and cultural festival on World Biodiversity Day, 22 May
  • Prayer gathering and missionary-like sending of Catholics to go and announce the Gospel of Creation in every corner of the globe
  • Closing event to launch the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, which will help guide this work in the decade ahead

View the complete Laudato Si’ Week 2021 schedule here.

Laudato Si’ reminds us to harbor hope at all times, and especially amidst dark times, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme for Laudato Si’ Week 2021 is, “for we know that things can change” (Laudato Si’, 13)