Minnesota, Our Common Home

A great cultural, spiritual, and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.

– Pope Francis, Laudato si’, 202



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Minnesota, Our Common Home was inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato si’: On care for our common home, and is designed to explain the message of Laudato si’ in terms of its significance for Minnesotans today. Because this encyclical, or papal letter, is so focused on questions of the environment, it is important to take steps towards applying it in a local setting—with the ecological blessings, opportunities, and challenges we face right now in the place where we live.

We find ourselves embroiled in many questions that all ultimately derive from one key issue: our stewardship of creation—not just of the natural environment, but also of our bodies and even of our very lives. Too often, however, the inherent connections between human and environmental questions are obscured because the political and ethical landscape is dominated by ideologies, which substitute a narrow and absolutist vision of reality for the truth. At face value, the two sets of questions—environmental and social—seem distinct. Yet when we step back from the false dichotomies presented to us, we notice that these issues are deeply connected.

Over the six-week study, your group will explore the key principles discussed in Laudato si’ and propose how we might translate them into our present situation as Minnesotans. Laudato si’, which some assume is focused only on the environment, also applies to many other aspects of our life. Some of the ideas presented here may be new or challenging, for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

In the spirit of Pope Francis, who addressed Laudato si’ “to every person living on this planet,” we invite Catholics, our fellow Christians, our brothers and sisters of different faiths, and all persons of goodwill to consider what the Church has to say to us as Minnesotans about our common home and everything living in it. We pray you will find hope and encouragement in these pages and join us as we all become better stewards of creation.

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The Minnesota Catholic Conference was one of the first partners to support Upstream (mnupstream.org), an inclusive new movement that creates a platform for all Minnesotans to share why they love this state and its natural resources, along with what they are doing to be good stewards of these gifts. Upstream is not about politics. It’s a way to bring people together in these polarized times around a shared love of our common home. 

Politics is often downstream of culture. If we want to change the policy landscape, we first must change hearts and minds and promote a genuine culture of stewardship in our state. That movement is upstream of the legislative process. So, we encourage you to check out the Upstream campaign and share your stories to help inspire others.

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