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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

October 4, 2007

St. Francis and the Environment

While October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the area of ecology or the environment of which Francis is a patron is one that is not limited to any one time. The current issue of St. Anthony Messenger is devoted to Franciscan spirituality and how it teaches us to be good stewards of the earth. This is an outstanding issue worthy of class study.

Your class might also enjoy reading together Francis’ “Canticle to Brother Sun”. This would lend itself to a PowerPoint presentation as a prayer reflection on God’s wondrous creation.

Reading the “Canticle” might inspire your class to tackle Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “God’s Grandeur”. This could prompt a reflection on how God sustains creation in the face of human exploitation. Some discussion starters might include:

1. What is the worst ecological issue facing our local community today? What factors contribute to it?

2. Who has the authority to address this issue? Can we as a class do anything to help remedy it, for example, by writing letters to legislators, to those responsible for the abuse, to newspapers and local TV outlets to encourage them to discuss the issue in print or on the airwaves?

3. Are there any ecological issues here at our school? Messy lunchrooms? Lights left on in the classroom when not in use? wasted paper? etc. What can we do to help preserve resources and make our school community a more pleasant place to live?

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