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Church Goes into the Streets for People's Climate March

 “I want the Church to go out into the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable […] everything that might make us closed on ourselves.” 

These words that Pope Francis spoke to an audience of thirty thousand on World Youth Day in July 2013 resonate with us today as we prepare for the People’s Climate March. His exhortation echoes Jesus’ call to the disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:16, NIV). In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples were called to share the news that Jesus had risen from the dead: good news indeed, but certainly hard to swallow. It would have been easier and certainly more comfortable to have stayed at home and kept their mouths shut. Yet they chose to accept being rebuffed, and even persecuted, because they believed passionately that Jesus’s gospel was worth sharing. 

We, too, are called to be modern-day disciples of Christ. The message we are called to deliver is also one that can be difficult to hear. But because it is part of the gospel message, it is at its core a message of hope. The message we carry with us to the People’s Climate March is this: our common home has been degraded through human actions, but we have both the obligation and the opportunity to restore what has been lost. We are called, as Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’, “to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, because we know things can change” (13, emphasis added). We, too, take to the streets for the People’s Climate March, and for other opportunities to answer the gospel call through advocacy, education, and direct service, because we know this news is worth sharing. 

We must be a Church that reaches out, as God reaches out to us through the Incarnation of Jesus. It is a difficult call, but it is vital. And so we join with our Holy Father in praying, “Lord, teach us to step outside ourselves. Teach us to go out into the streets and manifest your love” (Pope Francis, Twitter, 2013).    

Prayer for the People's Climate March (adapted from the Vatican Website) 

 Lord, you left your Mother in our midst that she might accompany us. 
May she take care of us and protect us on our journey, in our hearts, in our faith. 
May she make us disciples like herself, missionaries like herself. 
 May she teach us to go out onto the streets.  
May she teach us to step outside ourselves.  
May she, by her meekness, by her peace, show us the way. 

 --Pope Francis 

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