The Laudato Si! Committee planned events for Earth Day 2023.  On Saturday April 22 a variety of presenters educated and encouraged those attending to extend their efforts to care for the earth in personal and broader ways.  Jeff Anderson, County Extension Agent, guided and instructed a group of eager people to plant drought resistant bushes and trees around the second hermitage.  On Sunday evening an ecumenical service coordinated by Rev. Henry Atkins gathered us in prayer and motivation by four local active clergy and leaders.

A public screening of the film “The Letter, A Message for our Earth” with Pope Francis was held at Holy Cross Retreat Center on Monday, October 17, 2022.  The 1 1/2 hour film is a further promotion of the encyclical “Laudato, Si!” calls us to care for all creation–human and nature. It is a warm story of how the Pope invites individuals from around the world to meet in Rome, but is a serious message. Afterwards we talked about what gives us hope.  You can watch it yourself at

Pope Francis published an encyclical called Laudato, Si!, on May 24, 2015.  The encyclical has the subtitle “On care for our common home”. In it, the pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.”

Along with many other entities, Holy Cross Retreat Center has formed a Laudato, Si! committee to promote education, ecological conversion, and action on the goals of the encyclical.   The committee planned and hosted a commemoration of Earth Day April 22, 2022 with ten presenters on various topics, the beginning of an outdoor wall mural, and the planting of a drought resistant red push tree in the middle of our labyrinth with the help of Jeff Anderson from the NMSU Extension Society.

The committee has continued meeting monthly to develop a better understanding of how we can learn and prepare our specific goals.  The Mural entitled “St. Francis of the Southwest” and completed by Linda Hagen with help from others, depicts St. Francis of Assisi surrounded by 36 different creatures in a desert environment.  It relates how we can care for all around us and live in peace.  The 10 feet by 20 feet mural was dedicated and blessed on August 28, 2022 with lots of good publicity.

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