Deacon Clayton Nickel, in the blue, participates in the People’s Climate March in 2017. He and others have helped make creation care a top priority at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.
Parishioners and clergy at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle make sure to minister to the homeless, as well as the sick and the homebound.

The Washington, D.C., community also prides itself on raising its voice for social justice on an array of other issues, including for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But the parish and its creation care team recently came to a realization that has accelerated their work and passion for our common home.

“What really struck us most of all was that no matter where and what sort of issue is involved, if we don’t have a planet that we can live and breathe [in] and have a healthy life and have the planet sustain us, all of the other things will not [matter as much],” said Deacon Clayton Nickel of St. Matthew.

“It’s all very, very much interrelated.”

Members of the St. Matthew’s creation care team marched for Black Lives Matter in June 2020.
That realization has been evident for all of the world to see during the ongoing Season of Creation, which started on 1 September and runs through 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

The parish’s creation care team, which started in 2017, is led by Nickel, Phil Downey, and fellow Laudato Si’ Animator Simone Seym.

During the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home, the team has hosted four online events that have featured prayer, listening, and conversation. Their fifth and final Season of Creation event will take place on 4 October.

Click here to attend the St. Matthew’s celebration for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

What’s motivating them is a passion to care for our common home, but also a desire to help everyone experience an ecological conversion.

“The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion.” (LS 217)

“We really feel that there has to be something more than just something of a technological change, but it has to be a change of heart and a change of mind,” Nickel said.

“This COVID-19 pandemic is allowing us to really, really look through and really reflect on a lot of preconceptions that we are carrying, and that’s [where] we’re trying to lead our brothers and sisters, to that sense of ecological conversion.”

Watch the “Season of Creation Show” with Deacon Nickel