The Northern Cross
The Minnesota Catholic Conference, Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, is excited to unveil its newly developed “Minnesota, Our Common Home” resources: the “Study Guide Version,” and “Ecological Examen.” These two publications act as satellite resources to the educational text, entitled “Minnesota, Our Common Home,” released during the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s Catholics at the Capitol event in February 2019.
The teaching resource was approved for publication by the bishops of Minnesota and was developed by MCC staff in conversation with dozens of outside consultants. “Minnesota, Our Common Home” is intended to distill the teachings of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’ and apply its message locally, with consideration for the particular gifts, opportunities, and challenges that we face here in Minnesota with regard to the ecological crisis.
“The central message of Laudato si’ is integral ecology, which is a way of caring for both the natural and human ecologies and doing justice to both. Just as in an ecosystem, there is a natural order that leads to flourishing, so too there is a natural order to human life that promotes happiness and human development,” said Minnesota Catholic Conference Executive Director Jason Adkins. “This document is intended to help the faithful apply this call to integral ecology in their own local context — right here in Minnesota.”
The “Ecological Examen” is intended not for daily use but as a periodic review of one’s life in light of the teachings of Laudato si’ and the ecological conversion to which it calls us. It is recommended as a practice during Lent or Advent of each year, to help one overcome temptations and make important changes in one’s attitudes and actions that will bring one’s life into greater harmony with God’s will.
The “Study Guide Version,” which contains the full text of “Minnesota, Our Common Home,” is intended for use in small groups. It incorporates group discussion questions, a weekly challenge to incorporate the teaching into daily life, and spaces for taking notes.
At its heart, the document is a tool of evangelization, Adkins said. “Pope Francis calls us to ecological conversion related to how we steward the water and soil, but also our bodies. Minnesota, Our Common Home seeks to enter the growing ecological consciousness of people everywhere and provide a vocabulary and framework to think about all of our relationships — with God, with others, and with creation.”