Catholic Seminarian Essay Contest: Catholic Teachings & Ecologically Sustainable Behavior

Original source from: The Interfaith Center For Sustainable Development

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) invites global seminarians to participate in our second annual essay contest aimed at revealing the depth of Catholic teachings on ecologically-sustainable behavior.

We ask seminarians to write a short, two-page essay that relates to the question: How can Catholic teachings help promote ecologically sustainable behavior? The essay should combine personal experience or reflections and citation of sources in Catholic teaching.

Pope Francis wrote, “All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education. It is my hope that our seminaries and houses of formation will provide an education in responsible simplicity of life, in grateful contemplation of God’s world, and in concern for the needs of the poor and the protection of the environment.” -Laudato Si’, paragraph 214

By ‘sustainable behavior,’ our intention is that the essay would focus on types of behavior that promote environmentally sustainable living. Examples of such behaviors are growing one’s own food, being mindful with how one uses energy or water, seeking to minimize food waste, or bicycling as one’s main form of transportation. To read the winning essays from last year’s essay contest, click here.

ELIGIBILITY: Participants must be Catholic seminarians.
LANGUAGE: All essays must be submitted in English.
LENGTH: The essay can up be to two (2) pages long, excluding references.
AWARDS: The winner will receive US $1,000, the 2nd place will receive US
$300 and 3rd place will receive US $200.
CONTACT: For questions, please contact Ms. Faygle Train at

Why Catholic Teaching & Sustainable Behavior?

Religious support is key to promoting sustainable behavior. When clergy speak publicly about ecological issues, including pollution, effects of environmental degradation on human health, and animal welfare, it signifies to their entire community that sustainability is an ethical and religious issue.

How To Submit An Essay

Essays should be sent as either a Word or PDF document to Please include an initial cover page (not included in the two-page limit) with your essay title, your name, country, Seminary or House of Formation, and Study Program. By submitting the essay, authors give their consent to ICSD to publish sections of their essay on the ICSD website.

Why Are We Holding This Essay Contest?

Genesis 2:15 calls on us to be stewards of God’s creation, and for this reason, Catholics can take an active role in protecting the planet. When trusted religious sources – including Biblical passages and Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ – endorse positive stewardship teachings consistent with spiritual values, it promotes sustainability as an inherently moral issue. Recent research by two universities confirms that these Christian stewardship sources can increase concern about the environment and climate change. At this pivotal moment in human history, we hope that Catholic seminarians will explore how Catholic social teaching can promote an ecological conversion and sustainable lifestyle transformations.

About The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD):

Based in Jerusalem, ICSD works to catalyze a transition to a sustainable society through the leadership of faith communities. ICSD co-organizes Symposia on Ecologically Informed Theological Education, including one hosted by Catholic University of America’s School of Theology and Religious Studies. ICSD’s Faith-Inspired Renewable Energy Project in Africa works to create a renewable energy platform based on strategic partnerships between faith institutions and communities in Africa. ICSD’s Report on Catholic Ecology Courses For Priestly Formation highlights courses on ecological themes offered at a number of Catholic seminaries in North America, Rome, and the Holy Land.

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Thank You!