WASHINGTON (August 29, 1997) -- Dioceses in North Dakota, Northwest United States, Louisiana and Montana were awarded environmental regional grants from the U.S. Catholic Conference Environmental Justice Program to begin projects in the Fall.
The grants were given as part of a biannual program awarding regional grants of $4-6,000 for environmental network building and public policy agenda development. Initiatives are selected for their uniquely religious response to the environmental crisis and their link to Catholic social justice teachings.
Grants were awarded to the following:
- The North Dakota Catholic Conference, for a video and statewide educational program on creation and stewardship from a Catholic rural perspective and focusing on the upper- Midwestern United States.
- Four Louisiana sees, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Dioceses of Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, and LaFayette, for environmental justice retreats for clergy and laity to develop a core of parish-based environmental justice advocates to address Louisiana environmental concerns.
- The Washington State Catholic Conference, the Archdiocese of Portland and the dioceses of Baker, Oregon and Boise, Idaho to develop a pastoral letter and educational aids related to the Columbia River Basin and associated environmental justice issues.
- The Montana Catholic Conference, which in partnership with the Montana Association of Churches, will build ecumenical communities of faith and action around issues of caring for creation and social justice.
The Regional Grants Program is one of several initiatives of the Environmental Justice Program (EJP) of the USCC Department of Social Development and World Peace. The EJP seeks to educate and motivate Catholics to a deeper respect for God's creation, and to engage parishes, dioceses and Catholic organizations in activities aimed at dealing with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor. The Regional Grants Program supports projects which deepen the moral commitment of Catholics to needed lifestyle changes and garner the support necessary for influencing national debate and public policy.
Other activities of the program include the development of environmental justice education and action kits which have been distributed to every parish in the country. The program also has published And God Saw That It Was Good: Catholic Theology and the Environment, a book that examines environmental themes from Scriptural, theological, liturgical, and the Benedictine spirituality perspective.
This EJP is part of a larger ecumenical effort known as the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The cooperating partners are the National Council of Churches, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.
For more information about the USCC-EJP, call 202-541-3160. For more information about the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, call 212-316-7441. To order any of the USCC-EJP materials call USCC Office of Publishing and Printing Services 1-800-235-8722.
The next round of grants will be awarded in late February. Applications must be submitted by January 27, 1998.
Grant applications can be obtained by contacting
Mr. Andy Downin
U.S. Catholic Conference
Environmental Justice Program
3211 Fourth St., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20017-1194