Sisters and participants listen to speakers at the Ecological Awakening Symposium held at Villa de Matel on March 16, 2019.

Called To Conversion: Laudato Si’: Catholic Ecological Awakening hosted by the Congregation and held at the Villa on Saturday, March 16, brought more than 150 people to the campus. Coordinated by Sr. Ricca Dimalibot and Social Concerns Director, Monica Hatcher, the morning of critical reflection on one of the greatest moral challenges of our time, abating climate change and protecting our common home resulted in several calls to action. The speakers and panelists addressed the responsibility of the individual Christian and the role of the Church in changing behaviors to become better stewards of God’s creation. A Labyrinth Prayer Walk took place at 8 a.m. and Spanish interpretation was provided.

Speakers included Sister Ricca Dimalibot, Director of Congregational Planning and General Councilor; Audrey Novak, University of St. Thomas Chief Justice of Student Government; Michael Gormley, Coordinator of Evangelization at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church; Roger Ingersoll, retired oil and gas professional and Climate Change lecturer; Matthew Tresaugue, Environmental Defense Fund Manager; Bill Clark, Creation Care Ministry Founder at Mary Queen Catholic Church; Deacon Sam Dunning, founding director of the Office of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. In addition to the speakers, art was provided by Mary Ellen Rouen, parishioner of St. Luke the Evangelist. Other groups included the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), and the Public Citizen Citizens Climate Lobby. Houston’s Advanced Research Center Lead Researcher on the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan, Gavin Dillingham, and the Parish Council Members of St. Cecilia and St. Catherine’s Interfaith Environmental Network of Houston attended.

Sr. Ricca Dimalibot provides opening remarks at the Ecological Awakening Symposium.

Sr. Kevina Keating moderates the panel at the Ecological Awakening Symposium.

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