Catering Environmental Care to Catholics in Austin

Catering Environmental Care to Catholics in Austin


This semester I’ve had the opportunity to intern with the Diocese of Austin working on promoting environmental care within the Catholic community. This was a pretty unique role with the Diocese of Austin since it has previously never had a position that addresses this concern. This internship finally allowed me to utilize my double major in religious studies and environmental science in a manner that I’d before only been able to write about the idea of. For anyone that isn’t familiar, the Catholic Church has a lot to say about how we ought to care for the environment, however, the Church is usually fairly behind on taking significant action on the topic. That’s where I come in for the Diocese of Austin.

My job with the diocese is to create an ‘Environmental Care’ program from scratch. This meant doing massive amounts of research to see what other diocese and parishes around the country were doing to see if it could be replicated here or if we’d have to develop our very own program. My first several weeks on the job largely consisted of me spending several hours a week researching programs and another significant amount of time familiarizing myself with Church literature on the subject of environmental care. This was so that I could properly use it in promoting ‘Care for Creation’, a term that I use synonymously with ‘environmental care’ the majority of my time when I’m at work because that is the common usage of the Church. 

Because of the nature of my internship being an entirely new role created by my own interest and willingness of the diocese to allow me to work on the issue, I was generally on my own in the sense of determining what goals needed to be met because there was no precedent to follow. After my first week or so doing the research, I set two main goals for myself: 1. Create an ‘Environmental Care’ page on the diocesan webpage so that there is somewhere people can go to find more information and to let people know that the Diocese of Austin is doing something on the topic of environmental care. 2. Start a program within the Diocese of Austin that can be sent our to individual parishes to get local church members interested and actively engaged in the subject of environmental care. 

Fortunately, creating a webpage for the diocese was very easy because of the amazing software they have available to work with. The truly challenging and more interesting task of my internship came once I began my work on finding or developing a program to engage Catholics at their home parishes. This once again required a significant amount of research into existing programs and ideas for starting a new program from scratch but after a couple of weeks, I was able to find a great existing program that would fit Austin perfectly. The next step was networking with social ministers at parishes to find a few churches that would be willing to pilot the program to see just how well it will work out for us before we encourage all the parishes within the diocese to start the program. Currently, I’m still in this phase of my work and hopefully, by the middle of next year, we will have programs full swing throughout several Austin parishes.


Screenshot of the ‘environmental care’ that I created for the internship



Written by: Andrew Venzon


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