On Thursday October 4th, the Notre Dame community will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the environment. The celebration, which has become a tradition at Notre Dame, will be marked by festivities, thought-provoking discussion, and opportunities to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis, who was known for his love for nature and the poor.
Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Paul Kollman, C.S.C., at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 5:15 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. there will be a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Sun Come Up in Jordan Hall of Science Room 101, followed by a reception and discussion. Dinner at North and South Dining Halls will feature a nature-themed dessert buffet in honor of the Feast Day, generously provided by ND Food Services.
“St. Francis recognized Divine Providence in the beauty and abundance of creation,” said David Halm, a seminarian at Moreau who helped plan the program for the Feast Day. “We, too, are called to praise the Giver of all these good gifts and promote responsible stewardship of them.”
Sun Come Up is a powerful 40 minute documentary that follows the experiences of the Carteret Islanders, a community living on a remote island chain off Papua New Guinea that is forced to relocate due to sea level rise. The film screening is made possible by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, which is sponsoring a nationwide screening to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations around the world.
“As Pope Benedict and others have reminded us, the burden of climate change falls hardest on those who have contributed the least to the problem: the poor and vulnerable,” said Rev. Bill Lies, C.S.C., Vice President of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs. “The true legacy of St. Francis will be in the actions that we take to protect God’s creation and the dignity of those who need our help.”
Pope Benedict XVI has frequently stressed the necessity of environmental stewardship for the cultivation of peace and human dignity, and has observed that “preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.”
The Feast of St. Francis program is co-sponsored by the Departments of Campus Ministry at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College, as well as Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability, Center for Social Concerns, and Department of Theology. Sun Come Up will also be screened in Vander Vennet Theatre at the Student Center on the Saint Mary’s campus at 7:00pm the same evening. The Mass and film screenings are open to the public; community members are encouraged to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.