The Internet, social media, and a fast-paced lifestyle too often cause relationships – with people, with Earth, and with God – to suffer. We repent that we’ve neglected our neighbors, the communities most impacted by extractive industries, and all creation. Mercy Sister Edia Lopez, who ministers with the Ngäbe people of Panama protesting a hydro-electric dam that threatens to flood their cultural heritage, calls us to change the nature of our relationships in order to achieve a new type of development that benefits people and Earth.... Read more


The water protectors have caught the global imagination, with indigenous people and their allies traveling to North Dakota from around the world to join the Standing Rock in prayer for tribal rights and for creation. Let’s join them in song as “the whole world is watching.”


The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies, collectively known as the water protectors, were praying for months to change the minds and hearts of policymakers determined to build the Dakota Access Pipeline near the tribe’s lands. Their pleas at the construction site against both the desecration of their land and the potential risk to the water supply for millions of people were met with violent repression by a militarized police force.


Berta Caceres was a leader of the Lenca people in Honduras and a human rights defender who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. She is among more than 120 people who have been killed in Honduras since 2010 for taking a stand against dams, mines, logging, or agriculture on their land – murdered by state forces, security guards, or hired assassins. Countless others have been threatened, attacked, or imprisoned.


As we begin this novena for Earth Defenders, let’s remember Pope Francis’ challenge, that we keep in mind the needs of vulnerable communities and future generations, and repent for the voracious greed of ever-expanding development that threatens their health, culture, and territories. Indigenous people often take the lead in sounding the alarm, and the tearful words of native activist and environmentalist Casey Camp-Horenek on the impacts of fracking in her community in Oklahoma offer us such a warning.