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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

“Interfaith” Meeting About Pope’s Stance on Climate Change Moved Students


On Thursday, September 24, Loyola students participated in a global interfaith vigil called “Under One Sky.” On the eve of Pope Francis’ historic speech to the United Nations, activist organization Our Voices called on all people of  faith to “stand together under one sky to light the way to a better world.” From Tokyo, to Nairobi, to Loyola, dozens of communities joined in prayer to reflect on the humanitarian and spiritual need to prevent climate change.  

Outside the Loyola Alumni Memorial Chapel, a group of students and community members prepared for the ceremony. David Greenspoon, a local rabbi who often works with Campus Ministry planning interfaith events to connect Loyola students to Jewish religious services, sat in the audience. Rabbi Greenspoon appeared relaxed and content as he spoke of his reverence for Pope Francis. To him, Pope Francis created a path of reconciliation for believers, unparalleled by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Kelly McElroy ’17 played a soft tune on the violin as two students led the group of 20 in prayer. The ceremony used cardinal symbolism, a Native American tradition, to pay homage to other cultures from around the world. Coincidentally, this use of Native American tradition comes after the pope’s controversial canonization of St. Juan Capistrano who is viewed by some Native American communities in a negative light.

Using the prayer “We are One,” adapted from author Joyce Rupp, the group reflected on a message of global connectivity.

The prayer began with, “I am the people of the East. I am the Chinese Merchant.” The group turned to faced each direction, respectivelyas they said the prayer aloud. Facing South everyone read, “I am the surviving bush-people of the Kalahari Desert,” facing the West, “I am the widow in Bosnia,” and towards the North “the teacher in Vancouver.”

The prayer readers then asked for the prayer circle to reflect on Pope Francis’ Message of Justice. Dividing Pope Francis’ Catholic message into themes all religions can relate to, the prayer asked the group to reflect on the meaning of common good, economic inequality, climate change, extreme consumerism and their relationships with the Earth and its people.  

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In the closing, participants were asked to “join with the earth and with each other” in prayer to ask the “God of Many Names” to “light the way.”

The ceremony’s idealist inclusivity reflects Pope Francis’ method of preaching. Sophomores Eliana Marzullo and John Mucciolo spoke of their experience seeing the pope in Washington, D.C. earlier that day. From the Capitol balcony, the pope repeated the Golden Rule, “to do to others what you would have them do to you,” which includes our relationship with the Earth as a whole.

Marzullo recounts the most memorable moment of Pope Francis’ speech when he humbly requested for the crowd to pray for him “and if there are among you any who do not believe or cannot pray” to send him good wishes.

After the close of the ceremony, participants were asked to sign a petition on as part of the #lighttheway campaign. Participants added their voice to “urge our global leaders to prevent devastating climate change.”

Visit to find out more information on the “Global Faith & Spiritual Climate Action network.”

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“Interfaith” Meeting About Pope’s Stance on Climate Change Moved Students