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Laudato Si’ Dialogues Newsletter, Twentieth Issue, February 2024

The Story: The power of a Laudato Si' Circle organizing locally

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
St. Francis of Assisi


Members of Port Moody Laudato Si’ Circle, (left to right, circled in blue) Yolanda Broderick, Mark Norbury, Mary Phelps, Catherine Ho, and Justin Arsenault in attendance at Port Moody City Council, January 23, 2024 (photo courtesy of Patrick Perrin, https://tricitiesdispatch.com/class-action-delegation/ )

The Port Moody Laudato Si’ Circle, launched in June of 2022, draws members from several neighbouring parishes and ecumenical connections. During their first year they focused on prayers, studying the Laudato Si’ Encyclical, and inspiring each other in their efforts to live Laudato Si’. Eventually they decided they wanted to begin taking action and through a process of mutual exploration they considered many suggestions from their members.

One of their first St. Joseph parish activities was Car Free Sunday in which they encouraged parishioners to walk, ride a bike, or take public transit to church instead of driving gas vehicles. They also hosted a screening of The Letter, on 12 October 2022, just a week after it was released.  This event added many people to their mailing list.

 In recent months Sue Big Oil has become the campaign that rose to the top for them. They formed a mutually beneficial partnership with West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) and Force of Nature Alliance. Through these alliances the Laudato Si’ Circle has learned how to campaign and liaise with local politicians and WCEL, with Force of Nature, have gained willing boots on the ground to help move their goals forward.  Mark Norbury, one of the Circle leaders, said “At our last Laudato Si' Circle meeting, in January, the local Force of Nature leader, Benjamin Perry, gave a presentation with two more of their members in attendance.  Following his talk, we planned our Sue Big Oil strategy for Port Moody.  Even though they're not Christians, they happily joined our prayers. This is one of many examples of how our Laudato Si’ Circle has been a means of ecumenism and evangelism.”

Sue Big Oil, a campaign started by West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL), aims to rally enough British Columbia municipalities to certify a class action suit against multinational petroleum corporations and recoup significant expenses related to climate change. (Patrick Penner, TriCities Dispatch)[i]

On January 23 the partners won the chance to present a delegation before Port Moody city council on February 13, 2024, after having been initially denied the opportunity by a city staffer. Laudato Si’ Circle member, Justin Arsenault, said regardless of council member’s opinion on the delegation, it was their responsibility to hear from the group. “I think that this is really fundamental to the democratic process in this city,” he said.

“The City of Port Moody has jurisdiction to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure and services required to keep its residents safe from climate change, so it certainly has jurisdiction to join the Sue Big Oil class action lawsuit to recover some of those same costs from fossil fuel companies,” contended West Coast Environment Law staff lawyer Andrew Gage.

Mark Norbury referenced the expenses related to Port Moody’s Climate Action Plan, which are estimated to cost up to $8 million. “These costs are set to rise annually as climate related events occur with greater frequency each year,” Norbury said. “Where will the city get this additional revenue from?”

The suit “clearly affects the legal, financial, geographic, and operational areas of city governance,” lawyer Andrew Gage said. He noted that 28 law professors in Canada have recommended local governments bring class action lawsuits against the industry, similar to past lawsuits against tobacco and asbestos companies.

Councillor Amy Lubik agreed. “It’s costing cities so much to deal with the consequences of climate change.” As local governments directly incur climate-related costs – such as building infrastructure to protect shorelines from sea level rise – they have legal standing. Force of Nature’s Benjamin Perry said it’s important oil companies help pay for the damages caused by climate change. (Mario Bartel, TriCity News)[ii]

The hope is that Port Moody council will vote to support the Sue Big Oil class action lawsuit, and thereby bring some fairness into political discourse with regards to who pays for adaptation to climate change, and the damages incurred by municipalities when disaster strikes. The lawsuit aims to hold oil corporations to account for the misinformation they have perpetuated about the use of their products. The lawsuit, and others like it all over North America, aim to change the moral compass on policy related to fossil fuel extraction.

Fiona Koza said WCEL is hoping to get all B.C. municipalities to sign on, and they aren’t targeting specific communities, but being led by local groups lobbying their local representatives. Once there is a “critical mass,” Koza said, the cities and municipalities taking part will seek certification, identify a lead plaintiff, hire a class action legal firm, and decide which companies to target. (Patrick Penner, TriCities Dispatch)[iii]

The Port Moody Laudato Si’ Circle will present their delegation to Port Moody City Council on February 13th, 2024. If you are in British Columbia, consider making your municipality aware of the Sue Big Oil campaign, and from elsewhere in Canada, send your love and prayers to [email protected] .

Good Luck! You are an inspiration to us all.




Support faith-based climate action for a more resilient and sustainable Canada. Donate today. Under fund choose Mouvement Laudato Si' Movement Canada.




John-Dorner-Award.jpgMrs. Anna Dorner, widow of John Dorner, is pictured giving Valeria her trophy.

Congratulations Valeria Clavijo, winner of the 2023 John Dorner Care for Creation Award from the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall.

Valeria Clavijo has shown great leadership at her school and youth group and played an important role in starting up the Heroes for the Earth group at the Conseil scolaire catholique de l'Est ontarien. Valeria is also a member of the Mouvement Laudato Si’ Movement – Canada Advisory Circle.


Congratulations St. Paul University, University of Ottawa, as they celebrated their Blue Community certification and announcement to formally divest from fossil fuels, January 24, 2024.

“The Blue Community commitment aligns with Saint Paul University's broader social responsibility initiatives, which includes divesting from fossil fuel-based funds and prioritizing investments in enterprises that are socially and environmentally responsible.” (reported in a SPU press release)

Saint-Paul-University.pngMaude Barlow presented Eric Martin, Vice Rector for Administration Saint Paul University with their Blue Community certificate.


Sponsorship Partners

Congrégation de Notre Dame – Visitation Province have continued their financial support for 2024.

Loretto Ladies Colleges and Schools have more than doubled their annual donation to MLSM Canada.

Sisters of St. Joseph, Toronto have continued their financial support for 2024.

Ursuline Sisters of Chatham have continued their financial support for 2024.

Our Lady’s Missionaries have continued their financial support for 2024.

Thank you so much! We couldn’t do this work without you.


News / Actions / Resources


1. All are invited to participate in the Festival of Women & Girls at Regis College on International Women’s Day. Keynote speakers and workshops are centered on the theme Empowering Women & Gils for Ecological Justice. For more information and to register go to the website form or use the QR code on the poster to register.



2. Sign up for the next Laudato Si’ Animator training / d’animateurs Laudato Si’ course. English classes begin April 8, 2024. Cours de français commencent le 10 avril.

Laudato Si’ Animators are members of the Laudato Si Movement, a global community of prayer and action, who animate their local parishes and communities to engage in ecological spirituality, sustainable lifestyles and advocacy for climate and ecological justice. Animators work to bring Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ to life and care for our common home. https://laudatosianimators.org/

Les animateurs Laudato Si’ sont membres du Mouvement Laudato Si’, une communauté mondiale de prière et d’action, et encouragent leur paroisse et leur communauté locale à s’engager dans la spiritualité écologique, à adopter des modes de vie durables et à lutter pour la justice climatique et écologique. Les animateurs s’efforcent de donner vie à l’encyclique Laudato Si’ du pape François et de prendre soin de notre maison commune. https://laudatosianimators.org/fr/


3. Registration is now open for the third annual Care for Our Common Home Retreat at Jericho House Youth Leadership, Justice and Spirituality Centre. June 21st to 23rd we will focus some of our energies on building an ecological economy, while also enjoying the beautiful grounds with guided forest bathing, time for meditation and nature walks.

For information and to register, contact Br. Bill Carrothers, cfc or Sr. Jacquie Keefe, cssf at [email protected] . We look forward to you joining us. Please RSVP by June 14, 2024.

4. Give it up for the Earth! is a national faith-in-action campaign that raises awareness about the climate crisis Give-It-Up.jpg and mobilizes people across Canada to reduce personal and household greenhouse gas emissions, engage in acts of solidarity, and collect signatures as a demonstration of support for increased federal climate action.

Together, through this campaign, we are calling on the federal government to increase its emissions reductions target, increase support for grant-based climate finance, and end fossil fuel subsidies to fund a fair, inclusive and just transition. Click this Give it up for the Earth! link to visit the webpage and make your Lenten commitment.

CPJ.png for-love-of-creation.jpg

Give it up for the Earth! is organized through the collaboration of Citizens for Public Justice/Citoyens pour un Politique Juste and For the Love of Creation/Pour l’amour de la creation.


5. Nicle Di Francesco has recently published her reflections on The Way of the Cross, just in time for Lent! There comes a time in life when we question who we are, and what we are meant to do. For Nicole DeFrancesco, these questions arose during a mental health crisis.  She found healing in nature. It is on this journey of discovery, melding Christian contemplation with the nurturing power of the earth, that this book came to be. Inspired by meditation, this book uses The Way of the Cross to tell the story of our planet. It is a call to action. It is a call to change. It is a call to see the beauty and worth of every living thing. To order copies visit One Thousand Tress

6. Stand Earth has a new campaign focused on the Royal Bank of Canada insistence on financing fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, Fossil Free RBC.


This is not only about fighting the bad. This is about what we fight for economic justice and collective liberation in a world free from climate chaos and chronic economic instability. This is about investing in climate-safe solutions like renewable energy, return of Indigenous land, public housing, healthcare for all, free public transit, and climate reparations for impacted communities.

Check out Stand Earth’s recommendations for the World we Need to Build under the Solutions tab on their website, and take action.

7. Ontario Clean Energy Allaince: Say Yes to Tripling Wind and Solar energy in Ontario by 2035 petition to Ontario MPPs.

The world is going renewable while Ontario lags far behind. Wind and solar are now our cleanest and lowest cost sources of new electricity supply. Off-shore wind power in the Great Lakes alone could meet all our electricity needs. Ontario needs to embrace the target set at the recent COP28 climate summit and triple our wind and solar electricity capacity by 2035.

Tripling Ontario’s wind and solar energy by 2035 will:

  • Lower our electricity bills
  • Create good jobs
  • Provide clean power for Ontario’s manufacturing & mining industries
  • Reduce the need for more costly nuclear reactors
  • Phase-out of polluting gas power
  • Help us meet our climate commitments

Your voice matters! Send a letter now to the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Energy, Opposition Leaders and your MPP.

[i]  https://tricitiesdispatch.com/class-action-delegation/ written by Patrick Penner
[ii] https://www.tricitynews.com/local-news/environment-group-seeking-to-sue-big-oil-to-address-port-moody-council-8156476#google_vignette written by Mario Bartel
[iii] Ibid.

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