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Tracing the clues to Pope Francis' ecology

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With a name like Francis, it’s not hard for a pope to draw the attention of environmentalists.

It's even easier when the Francis in reference is Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology.

For some, the namesake indicated Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would place respect and protection for creation as a central tenant of his papacy, following the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

A small stand against a Delaware vegetable ban

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I recently stayed overnight with some friends outside of Wilmington, Del., in a "deeded community." I asked them if they grew vegetables in the summer and they said, "No, it was part of the deed that no vegetables could be grown."

The development was built in the 1950s and numbers around 300 homes. They are all the same in structure, different in decoration and are required, by deed, to grow flowers in the front in the summer. "Some color" is required, while all vegetables are banned. 

United Nations creates World Water Day to address water crisis

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Indigenous people have always celebrated the four elements of earth, air, water and fire because of the life-giving gifts they bring to us. They ensure our very survival on this planet.

The Zoroastrian religion, a pre-Islamic, monotheistic faith founded by the prophet Zarathustra, in sixth-century B.C. Persia (now Iran) paid homage to the four elements by assigning an angel to each of them. The angel of water is named Anahita.

Dalai Lama to key Portland environmental summit

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A Catholic university and Tibetan college are joining forces to bring the Dalai Lama to Portland, Ore., to key a May 9-11 environmental summit in the area.

"The summit includes three days of teachings and conversation with the Dalai Lama and leaders from Pacific Northwest environmental, scientific, policy and faith communities," according to a story from the Catholic Sentinel, the newspaper of the Portland archdiocese.

Daylight savings and time

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What does daylight savings time mean to an environmentalist?  Does it ratify our sense of the simultaneity of the local and the global?

After all, California has a different time “zone” than New York, and it is hard to sing “White Christmas” at any time in Florida. Australia has winter when Chicago has summer, and vice versa. The clock has long been the great relavatizer and, therefore, globalizer. What China does with carbon matters to what Cincinnati does with carbon.

Seminars on the Cosmic Christ will breathe life into Lenten season

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It is nearing the middle of Lent, and your spirit matches the Midwest winter outside -- gray and frozen over. Perhaps you are bored by the same lifeless, dried-out religious services but feel too guilty to say it aloud. Maybe you are overwhelmed with anger and sadness around the suffering planet, but feel a sense of overwhelming helplessness around making any kind of appreciable difference.

Whoever the new pope, speak strongly on climate change

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Even on a good day, I get discouraged thinking about the coming conclave and the election of a new pope. The “leading” candidates, as named in the media, are so-o-o traditional in their views, that I wonder if any meaningful change is possible. They all look like a Vatican version of the tea party movement.

But I tell myself from time to time, maybe, just maybe, there is a “John XXIII” lurking somewhere undiscovered, waiting to be elected. If so, I hope he remains obscure. If he’s “discovered,” he may not be elected!

Lenten energy fast offers spiritual reflections, practical tips

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What are you doing for Lent?

If you are striving to become greener over the course of the 40 days, one diocese has a resource to help out.

The archdiocese of Cincinnati has constructed a Franciscan Lenten energy fast calendar, offering spiritual reflections and scripture passages relating to creation, but more than anything, simple and practical ways to lessen the energy wasted each day.

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In This Issue

April 11-24, 2014

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