Creation Justice

The Creation Justice Committee of The Basilica of Saint Mary seeks to:

  • Support The Basilica community in more fully aligning with the Pope’s vision of our Common Home.
  • Through words and deeds, engage the greater community in protecting and nurturing our shared environment.
  • Witness the spirituality of creation justice work as a pathway for deeper encounters of Christ.

We seek to do this by providing individuals, The Basilica community, and the broader Twin Cities community opportunities for prayer, learning, dialogue, and action that centers restoration and justice for God’s creation.

We are planning activities for the Liturgical Season of Creation 2024 in September. We would love your partnership and energy!

If you are interested in learning more or joining this Committee, please contact Janice.

Laudato Si’ Every Friday in Lent, our Creation Justice Committee will offer some suggestions as to how we might be gentler with our planet and help implement the vision Pope Francis set out in his encyclical Laudato Si’ on the care of creation and his more recent Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Dominum.

Creation Justice Blogs

Consider an Energy Fast by Andy Willette

Andy WilletteAndy Willette has been a parishioner and choir member at the Basilica since 1996.  He and his beloved wife, Amy, have raised 2 children.  Andy had a 28 year career in Information Technology before transitioning to an assistant role at Open Circle Adult Day Services in Hopkins. He is involved with various other climate action efforts, including leading the Minneapolis chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan organization which seeks political will for a livable world.  Being a part of the Creation Justice Committee creates room to explore the spiritual connection to the world at large.  Perhaps you also feel that the wonder and beauty of creation provides both inspiration for spiritual growth and a call to action.  As Peter Mayer sings, “Everything is holy now.”


Fast for Creation: Going Meatless by San O'Brien

San O'BrienSan O’Brien is a retired nurse by trade, a life-long Catholic, a multi-year social justice advocate and a grandma. She came from Annunciation parish in SW Minneapolis and joined the Basilica when she and her husband, Kevin, moved downtown in 2019. San and her husband raised their three boys in the Annunciation Parish and community. San was Co-Chair of Annunciation's Peace & Justice Committee for several years, where they focused on many social justice issues, including the environment, which ignited her passion for environmental causes. She also helped the Academy of Holy Angels start their composting program and most recently started a "Green Team" at the condo where she resides. San recently joined the Creation Justice Committee at the Basilica because their goals align so closely with her personal “calling.”


Plastic Fast by Gregory Harris

Gregory HarrisGregory Harris has been a parish member of the Basilica since shortly after moving to Minneapolis from Tennessee in 2011. He is a research forester at the University of Minnesota studying the dynamics of dead trees in forest ecosystems and their role in carbon cycling, biodiversity, and other ecological services. Gregory is a Benedictine oblate associated with Saint John’s Abbey. As an oblate he dedicates himself to praying the Liturgy of the Hours and applying the principles of the Rule of Saint Benedict to his life.


Curb your Climate Pollution by Driving Less by Joe Fargione

Joe FargioneJoe Fargione is a native of Minneapolis and received his PhD in ecology from the University of Minnesota in 2004.  He likes raising awareness of all the values that nature provides to people and the reasons it is worth conserving, including because the Earth, our common home, is a divine gift.


Reflecting on Our Internal Environment by Rachel Holmes Fargione


Fasting from Materialism by Deborah Sundquist

Deborah SundquistDeborah Sundquist returned to the Catholic Church and joined the Basilica in January 2023 after spending 40 years as a Lutheran. She was born and raised as a Catholic in St. Paul, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Middle Eastern studies and energy policy. She earned her J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and was a partner at the law firm of Aafedt Forde where she represented employers in employment law and workers’ compensation litigation. In 2015, Gov. Dayton appointed her as a judge to the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals where she continues to serve. Deb is a proud mom of four children and grandmother to one grandchild. She married Mick in 2011 and is blessed with an extended family of two sons, daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Her goal for the CJC is to reduce The Basilica’s energy costs through renewable alternatives like solar.