"HOME" - A film about our story, the Earth's story

ADVENT. A time of waiting and wonder. A time to marvel at "the Word made flesh" who pitched his tent among us, whose footsteps fell upon the same holy ground we now walk upon. A time to reflect on the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

ADVENT. A time to awaken. To open our eyes and discover anew this treasure we call "home" -- the Earth -- made holy and sacred by the footsteps of Jesus, but now (in the image of Gerald Manley Hopkins' poem) "seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;" wearing our smudge, sharing our smell: "the soil ... bare now" no longer felt by our well-shod feet.
For a powerful Advent meditation, watch the film
HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. At the outset the film challenges us:

"Listen carefully to this extraordinary story, which is yours,and decide what you want to do with it."
and at the end, the film exhorts us to be hopeful and act.

May ADVENT be a time of hope
for our home, the Earth!

Wednesday Oct 28: A Respect for Life Presentation

You are invited to a special
"Respect Life Month" presentation on:


co-sponsored by:
Our Mother of Sorrows'
Care for Creation Initiative & Consistent Ethic of Life Committee

Date: Wednesday Oct 28Time: 7:15 - 8:30 pm(following the OMOS Peace & Justice Mass at 6:30 pm)Place: Our Mother of Sorrows Parish
in the Parish Activity Center Auditorium (Bldg #7)
Address: 1800 S. Kolb Rd, Tucson AZ

“No peaceful society can afford to neglect
either RESPECT FOR LIFE or the fact that

— Pope John Paul II

Everyone is welcome to this presentation that will address the close connections between respect for life and respect for the environment. The event will follow our weekly Vigil for Life in the Placita next to the Church after the 6:30 pm Peace & Justice Mass.

The presentation will begin with scripture and a viewing of a visual meditation on “Seeing the Hand of God in All Creation.” After time for prayerful reflection and sharing, a short talk will follow about the connections between environmental issues and respect for life in all its forms, including issues related to life in the womb, environmental justice and the vulnerability of the poor to climatic change. After discussion, we will close with prayerful reflections by Msgr. Tom Cahalane.

Presented by:
Katie Hirschboeck of the Holy Ground, Common Ground Core Resource Team
with reflections by Msgr Tom Cahalane, Pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish


Sunday Oct 4: Respect Life Sunday & also the Feast Day of St. Francis

 St. Francis Icon
this year falls on the
feast day
of St. Francis,
the "Patron Saint
of the Environment"

Why not consider taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor to unify the call to respect life, advocate for the poor and vulnerable of the world, and be good stewards of God's creation?

From the Catholic Climate Covenant website:

All across our country, Catholics are taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor and joining the Catholic Climate Covenant. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant, you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis Pledge:

+ PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
+ LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
+ ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
+ ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
+ ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

CLICK HERE to learn more, take the pledge, and join the Covenant.

Sunday Sept 20: A Care for Creation Gathering

All are welcome to our gathering on:


Date: Sunday Sept 20
Time: 1:30 - 3:00 pm
Place: Our Mother of Sorrows
in the Parish Activity Center Auditorium (Bldg #7)
1800 S. Kolb Rd, Tucson AZ

We will open with a meditation and scripture, followed by a talk on how the themes of stewardship of the Earth and Care for Creation are woven through Scripture and Catholic tradition. The key themes of the U.S. Bishops' statements on Renewing the Earth and Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good will be shared, along with the environmental messages from our Popes. Also included will be a basic overview of the relevant science as linked to our call for a faith-based response to environmental issues. There will be time for discussion and sharing and a variety of resources for learning more will be available.

The Holy Ground, Common Ground Core Resource Team will be the presenters.

USCCB Resources on Creation & Environmental Justice

US CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS Environment / Environmental Justice Program


Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching (1991):


Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good (2001):


"Partnership for the Future"  [pdf]
A pastoral statement on the environment
by the Roman Catholic Bishops in New Mexico May 11, 1998

U.S. Bishops Call for Moral Focus on Global Climate Change

News Item, February 7, 2007

Why Does The Church Care About Global Climate Change
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops


The Good Life from a Catholic Perspective: The Problem of Consumption  [pdf]
by Msgr Charles Murphy

Ecological Spirituality [pdf]
by Fr Joseph Tetlow 

Our Popes on Caring for Creation

+ Pope Francis's 2015 Encyclical:  Laudato Si' -- On Care for the Common Home

Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 World Day of Peace message:  If  You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation

+  Pope John Paul II's 1990 World Day of Peace message: Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation

For links to more Vatican Messages, see the Catholic Climate Covenant's page:

Statements and quotes from Pope Francis

Statements and quotes from Pope Benedict XVI & Saint Pope John Paul II


More to come!

Resources for Catholics on Climate Change & Creation


+ Catholic Climate Covenant website

+ The Franciscan Action Network:

A Position of the Carmelite NGO On Climate Change     
         by Joan Brown OSF,  Catholic Update Series

Mother Earth

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister, Mother Earth,
who sustains
and governs us,
and who produces
various fruit
with colored
flowers and herbs.

Catholic Rural Life:

+ Watch an amazing and beautiful film online: HOME by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

From the Homeproject website:

A hymn for the planet

HOME is an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth - our Earth - as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth's treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve. "From the sky, there's less need for explanations". Our vision becomes more immediate, intuitive and emotional. HOME has an impact on anyone who sees it. It awakens in us the awareness that is needed to change the way we see the world.

HOME embraces the major ecological issues that confront us and shows how everything on our planet is interconnected.



More Earth-related links and information to be added . . . .

Brother Wind

Praised be You, my Lord,
through Brother Wind
and through the air,
cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather,
through whom You give
sustenance to Your creatures.
From the NPR website:
When most people think about wind power, a vast field of gigantic turbines spinning on a ridgeline might come to mind. Well, that's big wind. But another part of the wind power industry is thinking small — as in turbines that are the right size to power a single home or business. And one of the hottest ideas blowing around is the concept of roof-top turbines that generate energy right at the point of use.

+ A Mighty Wind  (a story about wind energy in Texas and the vision of a Catholic priest)

+ Hurricanes and Climate Change
An overview of information on hurricanes and climate from the U.S. Global Change Research Program  and  the National Climate Assessment 

More wind and weather-related links and information to be added . . . .

Brother Sun

Praised be You, my Lord,
with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day and through
whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and
radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You,
Most High One.

+ PBS NOVA Saved By the Sun: Is it Time to take Solar Energy Seriously?

From the NOVA website:

As the Earth heats up at a dangerous rate and fossil fuels become scarcer, ordinary citizens and businesses are bypassing the federal government to lead the way in exploring a clean, renewable source of power: the sun. In this report, NOVA shines a light on how and why people across America and the world are "going solar," using radiant energy of the sun to power homes, businesses, and even entire communities. But can everyday people really make a difference by using solar power? And can solar technologies, with their high cost and logistical challenges, truly play a bigger role in powering the future of humanity? The grand hopes, latest innovations, roiling controversies, and practical realities of solar power all come to the fore in this program.

CLICK HERE to visit the NOVA program website, view its resources, and watch the program.


More Sun-related links and information to be added . . . . .

Sister Water

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious
and chaste.

+ The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good
An International Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops of the Watershed Region

The Catholic bishops of the Columbia River Watershed offer a pastoral reflection spoken with a voice of faith and compassion, offering insights drawn from the teachings of Jesus Christ and from the Christian tradition through the ages, particularly the developing Catholic social ethical thought of the past century. They teach with the late Pope John Paul II that "Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towared nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith." (The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility.)

Catholic Rural Life: Water A Sacramental Commons for All

+ Streamflow: Natural Variability and Human-Caused Changes
        From the Southwest Climate Change Network:
"Current observations suggest that climate change is altering streamflows in ways that negatively impact water supply for southwestern populations. Many climate models suggest that these changes will worsen as the climate warms, accentuating the natural variability inherent in river flows. Since water is one of the most vital resources in the arid Southwest, the consequences of reduced streamflows and changes in the timing of peak river flows will impact water consumption, agriculture production, economic growth, recreation opportunities, and electricity generation, among other vital services. "


More Water-related links and information to be added . . . .

Why This Site Was Initiated

In 2009, Bishop Skylstad, on behalf of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops shared with each U.S. parish the "The Catholic Climate Covenant", http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/ and invited all of us to take the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.

He also asked to help spread the good news and to encourage others to join and do the same. This is not an isolated initiative, but a concrete follow-up to the significant documentation issued over the years by the U.S. Catholic Bishop and the Vatican inviting us to reflect and to take action on caring for God’s creation in its various aspects and in caring for the “least of these,” in response to the challenges of environmental justice and global climate change.

In response to this invitation  a small group of us from different parishes began a conversation about how to promote the call to "Care of Creation and Care for the Poor" in the Tucson area.  We concluded that one way to do this might be to provide a variety of resources for parishes in the diocese with information on the issues from a faith perspective. This blog was developed to do just that and to foster an awareness that caring for God's creation is an important part of  living our faith.

We hope those who visit here will find these resources useful! We are eager to know what you are doing in your parishes on care for creation!   If you have items and information to share or would like to join in furthering the mission of this blog, please visit the ABOUT US link for contact information: 

About us

About Us

We welcome input from Catholics in parishes throughout the Tucson Diocese about individual or parish-based care-for-creation efforts.  If you would like to share your information on the blog, CONTACT KATIE via email.


Katie Hirschboeck (Our Mother of Sorrows Parish) — Katie is chair of the Care for Creation Initiative at OMOS, which she and Hank Krzysik co-founded in 2008. She also chairs the parish's Consistent Ethic of Life Committee.  An emeritus faculty member of the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Katie has over 30 years of experience teaching and doing research on the environment and global climate change.  She has a PhD in geosciences and holds joint faculty appointments in atmospheric sciences and hydrology.  Katie is also a national "Catholic Climate Ambassador" for the Catholic Climate Covenant. She is deeply committed to what our faith teaches about the consistent ethic of life, care for creation, care for the poor – and how these areas are interrelated. Katie started this blog and has kept it going through the years (albeit intermittently at times due to the work demands of her faculty position).  Now that she is retired, she would like to get the blog more active -- so please send input! 

Giulio and Joan Grecchi (St Cyril of Alexandria) — Giulio and Joan co-founded the New Jersey Catholic Coalition for Environmental Justice in 2002 (sponsored by the five NJ dioceses). They also organized Statewide Environmental Conferences on "A Vision for Environmental Justice: Our Responsibility for God’s Creation" April 25-27, 2003 at Princeton University; “Creating an Environment for Life” October 15, 2005 at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, NJ and several other events. They returned to Tucson in 2005 and are now a driving force in Tucson's Voice of the Poor program.

Mike and Theresa Crimmins (St. Pius X) — Mike and Theresa are PhD. research specialists at the University of the Arizona. Mike is a professor and Climate Science Extension Specialist in the UA’s Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. In this position he supports resource managers by increasing climate science literacy as well as developing strategies to adapt to a changing climate. Theresa is an ecologist and Assistant Director of the USA National Phenology Network where shes supports "Nature's Notebook" a national program in which professional and citizen scientists record long-term observations of plant and animal life stages.

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

An Assortment of "Footprint" Calculators

What is a "Footprint"? 
The negative impacts in your use of the environment's finite resources (usually based on the amount of fossil-fuel-based energy you use and the waste you produce in your everyday actions, as compared to the ability of nature to replenish these resources.)

Concerned about your footprint? . . . 
see below

 What is a "Handprint"?
The "infinite" good that you can do to make positive impacts simply by changing the way you do things, at home, at work-- or anywhere (such as using a refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water; carpooling, taking public transportation and encouraging your friends to ride with you, instead of all driving separately, etc.)  

Read about  "Environmental Handprints"

"Our Environmental Handprint, The Good We Do"
 by Jon Biemer, Willow Dixon and Natalia Blackburn