As Catholics, we are called to be stewards of God’s creation. Catholic Social Teaching includes care for God’s creation as one of its seven themes. When we are stewards of creation our actions show the Creator we respect all life and have concern for all people. Catechists and DREs have a unique opportunity to encourage students to love and learn to care for God's creation. Use these free printable resources to educate children about environmental issues and guide them to become stewards of creation.
Catholic Social Teaching, which calls us to work for justice and peace as Jesus did, includes care for God's creation as one of its seven themes. Responding to this call means becoming stewards of creation, respecting and protecting the environment for future generations.
Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home was the first encyclical to be entirely dedicated to the topic of environmental issues. Inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures, “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us,” the encyclical demonstrates that environmental issues are a priority of Pope Francis’ papacy. Written to "every person living on this planet," Pope Francis has asked citizens of the world to acknowledge, discuss, and take personal responsibility in meeting environmental challenges. (For more information about Laudato Si’ or to access an electronic version of the encyclical, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site.)
Our call to care for God’s creation is unceasing, and we as disciples are especially reminded of this call in Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. The month of April and Earth Day present a timely opportunity to discuss with children our responsibility to care for God’s creation.
Explore these stewardship resources for every member of the parish to use throughout the month and all year.
Caring for Creation Resources for Children, Families, and Adults
#1 STEWARDS OF GOD'S CREATION PRAYER CELEBRATION
Download a colorful Stewards of God’s Creation lesson with a prayer celebration and suggested activities. It also includes “Bright Ideas” for applications beyond the classroom.
#2 CARING FOR GOD'S CREATION EBOOK
Download a FREE eBook with ideas to teach and inspire children to care for creation. This eBook can be used at home by families or in a classroom setting.
#3 GOD'S GIFTS TOGETHER ACTIVITY
Using resources carefully and helping to care for the planet is the responsibility of all disciples, regardless of our age. Even the youngest disciples can help to be stewards of creation. One of the ways to encourage this stewardship is by teaching young disciples about creation in order to develop wonder, awe, and gratitude for God’s gifts.
In the story of Genesis, we learn that God gave us many gifts, including the gifts of light and water. Share the story of creation from a children’s Bible (Genesis Chapter 1). After you read, reiterate the things that God made, and that they were good. Then, download the God’s Gifts Together Activity to share with early childhood or primary aged children.
This activity will appeal especially to Catholic kids who are inclined to naturalist and visual-spatial activities. In this activity, they will learn that God’s gifts of light and water work together to create something special: a rainbow! The activity includes a printable lesson plan to share with catechists or families.
Gather crayons, markers, or colored pencils for the children to use. Distribute an activity sheet to each child. Ask the children to share their experiences of seeing rainbows in the sky after a rainstorm. Have volunteers identify each picture shown. Then, invite children to color the sun, the cloud, rain, and rainbow. (You may want to review the colors of the rainbow in advance). Hang completed activity sheets on a class bulletin board or send them home with the children as a reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and a reminder of God’s gifts of light and water. The discussion of rain and rainbows is also an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of water health in our environment. To conclude the activity, pray a prayer of thanks to God for the gifts of creation.
#4 CANTICLE OF CREATION PRAYER CARD
Saint Francis’ Canticle of Creation is a hymn in praise of creation. It reflects his deep respect for nature and animals. Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home, is named from this canticle. The Canticle of Creation Prayer Card can be colored and prayed by disciples of all ages.
#5 SPRINGTIME ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES
Encourage families to enjoy God’s creation together during April. The Springtime Activities for Families handout especially includes four simple activity suggestions that connect family members to God, to nature, to each other as they experience the beauty of the spring season.
#6 COMMUNITY CARING FOR CREATION SUPPORT ARTICLE
Renewing the Earth, the U.S. Bishop’s pastoral letter on environmental justice states, “At its core, the environmental crisis is a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to future generations, and how we live in harmony with God’s creation.” This call speaks to children’s intrinsic and intuitive understanding that care for creation is fundamental.
Today’s children recognize that if we teach respect for life, then we need to respect nature and the interconnectedness of all life. Educators and parents must nurture children’s vision of the sacramentality of the whole universe, which was blessed into being by God.
Download a support article that addresses the issue of environmental justice and includes suggestions of ways that young people can show care for creation both at home and in school.
#7 IN THANKSGIVING FOR THE GIFTS OF GOD'S CREATION
Download a In Thanksgiving for the Gifts of God’s Creation Prayer Card and use it in the classroom or parish to enhance your children's appreciation of nature’s bounty.
#8 GO GREEN! COMMUNITY EVENT
Plan an event to help the entire parish community care for creation with the help of the Go Green! Planner and Presentation. This downloadable PowerPoint™ Presentation allows you to prepare for a whole community event and provides the slides needed for the leader to implement the event. Once downloaded, it is customizable.
In the event, participants will learn how the call to care for God's creation is part of Catholic Social Teaching. They will expand their understanding of stewardship that includes respect for and protection of the natural environment. Finally, they will identify ways to “go green” through the practice of stewardship at home and in collaboration with others.
When we are stewards of creation our actions show the Creator we respect all life and have concern for all people. The month of April and Earth Day present a timely opportunity to discuss with children our responsibility to care for God’s creation. Use these free printable resources to educate children and families about environmental issues and guide them to become stewards of creation.