Throughout the month of November, Central Catholic honored Native American Heritage Month through morning reflections and recognition of the Native American impact on history, art, and literature with references to their contributions in various areas of the school.
Images of Native Americans and messages of spiritual guidance were displayed along the hallway that leads to Campus Ministry.
At the end of the month, Mr. Sam King, the Ecology and Sustainability Coordinator for the Marist Brothers US Province, spoke with students about indigenous peoples and their leadership climate change.
In Recognition of the Indigenous Commitment to Protecting the Earth:
Marist Presentation Explores Climate Change
Before leaving for Thanksgiving Break, students gathered in the Allan B. Rogers Memorial Theater on Monday, November 21, 2022 to listen to a presentation by Sam King, the Ecology and Sustainabilty Coordinator for the Marist Brothers US Province.
Mr. King offered students great insight into how the Indigenous communities are leading efforts around climate change.
"The commitment to the environment is a social justice issue," he stated. He explained that the Laudato Si' is an encyclical (an important Church document) shared by Pope Francis that "weaves together Catholic faith and the environment" to urge the Church to take action on issues like climate change and overconsumption.
Through short informative videos and vivid descriptions, the students were introduced to the definition of climate change, current research and data, and stories of indigenous people immersed in these movements.
Mr. King was able to inform an audience that ranged from freshman to seniors on this important topic.
Although not of Native American descent himself, as a former Research Associate for the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and a graduate of Religion and Ecology at Yale Divinity School, Sam King is well studied on the interconnectedness between faith and the environment.
He also spoke to students about the Marist’s commitment to the 7 Environmental Principles of Nature highlighted in the Pope’s encyclical.
7 Environmental Principals of Nature
- Nature knows best.
- All forms of life are important.
- Everything is connected to everything else.
- Everything changes.
- Everything must go somewhere.
- Ours is a finite earth.
- Nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation.
Teachers at Central invited Mr. King into their classes throughout the day, as well.
The AP Environment class was able to share the last period of the day with Mr. King, discussing in more detail many of the concepts introduced in the presentation.
Motivated by the commitment of these indigenous people to protect the environment and the urging of the Church to commit to this issue, at the end of each presentation students were reminded to "never underestimate their own capacity to make a lasting change."
About Mr. Sam King
Ecology Coordinator, Marist Brothers United States Province
In a further effort to respond to the Calls of our 22nd General Chapter, the Province hired Mr. Sam King to assist the Province in responding to our Call to be in Solidarity with our Common Home.
Mr. King will specifically work with the Province in developing realistic responses and action steps to the goals of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform.
He presented to the leaders of the Marist schools over the summer at the Marist Leadership Conference and invited them to ensure that all our Marist Ministries will develop clear goals in responding more deeply to embracing and living an Integral Ecology.
Mr. King is a Research Associate with the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and a Project Manager for Journey of the Universe. A former Fulbright scholar, he has taught in Peru, Sri Lanka, and Connecticut. He recently completed a Master's in Religion and Ecology at Yale Divinity School with a certificate in Educational Leadership and Ministry. He has worked closely with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Co-Directors of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, and helped them build six massive open online courses (MOOCs) on religions and the environment. Sam is passionate about how ecological spirituality can inspire the transition to a more just and sustainable world.
We are grateful to the expertise and passion that Mr. King will bring to our Province in the years ahead as we work to build a greater response to this critical and needed area of engagement.
When Pope Francis recently met with our Marist Provincials in Rome, he challenged us as Marists to pay particular attention to the area of Ecology. He stressed that we as Marist Educators play a critical step in working with young people who have a great passion for Ecology and are the best hope our planet has for a sustainable future.