EUGENE — Members of St. Thomas More Parish here marched with University of Oregon students and hundreds of others this spring to show support for climate safety.
The St. Thomas More and Newman Center group brought a Catholic presence to the event, which was coordinated with similar marches around the nation. The walks come in response to President Donald Trump’s plans to decrease funding for environmental protection and possibly step away from global climate change agreements (which he later opted to do).
The Eugene Catholics carried signs with quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”
The Catholic marchers walked to a campus rally then an even larger rally at the Federal Building.
During her talk, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis saw and commented on a sign made by St. Thomas More parishioner Chuck Kennedy. The sign quoted “Laudato Si’: “Hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
The Catholic group carried a life-sized cutout of the pope, and many marchers posed to have pictures taken with the famous man. Catholic marchers spoke with others about their beliefs and handed out copies of the encyclical.
The involvement in the march was part of a broader effort at the parish to raise awareness of the serious life issues Pope Francis says are at stake. Over the past 18 months, a group of parishioners has met regularly to pray, study the encyclical and discuss effective ways to implement its recommendations.
Ideas have included personal choices, such as carrying and reusing drinking water containers and grocery bags, monitoring use of electricity and choosing walking, biking or public transportation options when possible. Also on the agenda are larger projects such as investing in solar panels and electric cars. The parish group shares ideas on finding locally produced goods and services and cutting down on transporting things from other places, which increases carbon emissions.
The writer is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Eugene.