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Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue Hosts Interfaith Luncheon


Discussion of Forthcoming Encyclical of Pope Francis on Ecology

The Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue hosted a luncheon on March 25, 2015  in Spellman Lounge for approximately 40 visitors working on Care of Earth issues. The occasion brought together a number of faith groups in order to coordinate responses to the forthcoming encyclical on the environment promised by Pope Francis for release this summer.   The interfaith effort at Iona was placed to take advantage of the timing of the encyclical as we approach the United Nations Climate Treaty final negotiations in Paris this December.
Following the warmest year in history and dire warnings from climate scientists, and with major UN climate talks approaching in December, the encyclical could not be better timed.
The collaboration consists of a number of players.  RENEW International, GreenFaith and the Catholic Climate Covenant have launched a unique collaboration to produce a faith-sharing guide on the encyclical, to be released late in 2015. This project will bring the encyclical into the lives of thousands of people. Designed for small faith groups, it will help parishioners discuss the encyclicals teachings and apply them to their lives. It will also include responses to the encyclical from leaders from diverse religious backgrounds. RENEW International, GreenFaith and the Covenant are each leaders in their fields.  RENEW International helps dioceses and parishes to create small groups in which adult Catholics encounter Christ in Scripture and prayer, share their faith with each other, and connect it to action in their everyday lives. 
GreenFaith is a leading interfaith environmental organization that mobilizes diverse faith communities for environmental leadership.  
The Catholic Climate Covenant is a partnership of leading Catholic organizations and works to integrate Catholic teaching and spur action on climate change throughout the Catholic community.
 RENEW’s Sister Terry Rickard, GreenFaith’s Rev. Fletcher Harper, the Covenant’s Dan Misleh each spoke briefly at the event.  The conveners of the Berry Forum, Br. Kevin Cawley, Sr. Kathleen Deignan, Dr. Danny Martin, Dr. Brian Brown, Nurse Practitioner Karen Killeen, and Rabbi Larry Troster all were in attendance for the discussion and interchange that followed.
The Berry Forum will continue to sponsor events around care of Earth issues and will engage with students and colleagues on these challenges.  Please take a look at the Berry Forum link on the Iona College Website for further information.  (

Photos of Luncheon Event on promised Encyclical

Brother Kevin Cawley, Executive Director

Brother Kevin Cawley welcomes visitors with a reading from Father Thomas.

Reverend Fletcher Harper addresses the luncheon.

Rev. Fletcher Harper, Dan Misleh, and Sister Terry Rickard