“I’m not perfect, but I try to live sustainably as much as possible,” shared Brent Fernandez, a teacher of theology and science at Father Ryan High School, one of many Catholic schools incorporating Laudato Si into their academic curriculum. For Brent Fernandez, creation care means more than simply talking about the environment, an ideology he embraces as a lifestyle through gardening, raising chickens and riding his bicycle to school when the Nashville weather allows it.
Textbooks at Father Ryan High School place environmentalism (creation care) toward the end of course reading. Now that Laudato Si has been released, teachers such as Mr. Fernandez feel a new responsibility and ability to speak on matters pertaining to our role as stewards of God's creation.
For many Catholic teachers, this marks a shift in Catholic ecology, placing creation care as one of many social justice issues that Catholics are obligated to address. Fernandez shared, "...every single social issue is like a huge web, and...it all connects back to our faith.”
By Theresa Laurence | Catholic News Service
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Father Ryan High School theology teacher Brent Fernandez grows a garden at home, raises chickens, and rides his bicycle to school when he can.
In the summer, he takes students to visit Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia, a Catholic intentional community where he once lived for two years.
He is passionate about treading lightly on the earth and embracing a less consumer-driven lifestyle.
“I’m not perfect, but I try to live sustainably as much as possible,” he said.
On the June morning when Pope Francis released his encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” Fernandez “was like a teenager on the day their favorite band drops a new album.” He pored over it, immediately connecting with so much of what Pope Francis wrote about, formulating how he would incorporate the encyclical into his junior-level Catholic social teaching class at Father Ryan.
Fernandez is one of many theology and science teachers at the three Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Nashville who will be incorporating the papal encyclical into their curriculum this school year.
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