More than 130 Catholics of all ages gathered on the Soboba Indian Reservation Oct. 5 to reflect on their call to environmental stewardship.

It was the third straight year the Diocese, through its Laudato Si Committee, has sponsored a day to experience the local natural environment while reflecting on Church teaching about care for the earth. Laudato Si is Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment. The Bishops of California issued a pastoral statement, “God Calls Us to Care for Our Common Home,” in June to emphasize the local application of Laudato Si.

As with the previous two Care for Creation Day events, Catholic Native American spirituality was emphasized in the opening Prayer of the Four Directions and in a purification ritual using sage. The day was held at The Oaks, a picturesque natural backdrop of oak trees, cacti and other native plants, with rolling foothills in the distance.

Following the opening prayer, attendees walked through the natural area and visited six stations representing the six days of creation from the Book of Genesis. Facilitators connected each day to an environmental resource: air, water, land, living creatures, plant life and the atmosphere. The groups of participants who visited each station were then invited to share thoughts and questions about what they had heard.

Ray Burnell, Director of Education and Environmental Stewardship for the California Catholic Conference, attended the event and offered remarks on “God Calls Us to Care for Our Common Home.” He praised the Diocese of San Bernardino as being innovative in promoting the California Bishops’ message and setting an example for prioritizing the Church’s environmental teachings. 

Bishop Gerald Barnes was on hand to accept an award given to the Diocesan Pastoral Center for its solar energy project, which was finishing up construction in October. Bishop Barnes offered closing remarks for the event, encouraging attendees to reflect on what they had learned at Care for Creation Day and think about how they can live more harmoniously with God’s creation.

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.