"In the Beginning" A Creation Series

In this 8-part series of educational and theological talks, all are invited to learn more about our very beginnings and our role as stewards of God’s Creation. We are excited to offer this series of talks in a variety of parishes across the Diocese of Harrisburg. You are invited to register for all of the presentations, or as many of the presentations as you like. Each presentation will last approximately 1 hour and will conclude by 8:15 pm. Most presentations are offered in person and via Zoom.

Saturday, September 9th at 10 am: Care for Creation Mass at St Katharine Drexel Church, Mechanicsburg: Bishop Senior, celebrant, and homilist. Hosted by Father Kenneth Smith.

Lunch, fellowship, and presentation from Jose Aguto to follow the Mass at 11:00 am. Please note, there is a $15 registration fee to attend the lunch and speaker. Those just planning to attend the Mass do not need to register.

Registration Deadline: September 3, 2023

Presenter Bio

Jose Aguto is the Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant and is blessed to participate in the Covenant’s mission to advance the Catholic Church’s call for us to love and care for God’s creation, especially for our most vulnerable neighbors. Through his position, Aguto affirms the moral, spiritual and non-partisan foundations of this appeal, so that bridges can be built through divisions and generate lasting, compassionate and cooperative solutions for the climate crisis.

Before the Covenant, Aguto served with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the National Congress of American Indians, EPA’s American Indian Environmental Office, and the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army. He is a graduate of Brown University and Villanova Law School, and he and his family are parishioners at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia.


About the Catholic Climate Covenant

In 2006, to address growing ecological awareness and the need to implement Catholic social teaching on ecology within the U.S. Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) helped form Catholic Climate Covenant. Inspired by the USCCB’s 2001 statement on climate change, and supported by 20 national partners (which include Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Health Association, congregations of religious men and women, and other national organizations), Catholic Climate Covenant helps U.S. Catholics respond to the Church’s call to care for creation and care for the poor.

Monday, September 11 at 7 p.m. | Holy Spirit Church, 300 West Pine Street, Palmyra

“The Creation Stories in Genesis” presented by Father Anthony Dill with special guest, Father Alex Roche of the Diocese of Scranton

Fr. Alex Roche and Fr. Anthony Dill will discuss and debate the creation stories in Genesis. Evolution, Creationism, God’s Providence, Enlightenment Deism, human agency, work, loneliness, selfishness, boundaries, and love will all be mentioned in this conversation. Come and join us in-person or via Zoom.

Registration Deadline: September 9, 2023

Presenter Bios

Fr. Alex Roche is the pastor of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Laflin, Pa., and serves as the director of vocations for the Diocese of Scranton. Ordained in 2012, he has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

Fr. Anthony Dill is the pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Palmyra and serves part time in the tribunal for the Diocese of Harrisburg. He was ordained in 2012 and graduated from Messiah College in 2007.

Thursday, September 14 at 7 p.m. | St. Pius X Church, 112 Fairview Drive, Selinsgrove


“It Wasn’t Supposed to be Like This! Genesis 3” presented by Father Joshua Cavender

Reading any news platform tells us that things seem to be going awry in our world. From neighborhood disputes to natural disasters, the world seems like it is not working the way that it should. Genesis chapter 3 tells us how the world broke. In our battle to be good stewards of creation, we often try to mend these issues with policy and social organizations, but is there a deeper problem that needs to be addressed? In this presentation, we will be diving into Scripture to understand how the world broke so that we can point ourselves in the direction of a solution.

Registration Deadline: September 12, 2023

Presenter Bio

Fr. Joshua Cavender is originally from Elizabethtown, Pa., and attended Lancaster Catholic High School. After graduating from Juniata College with a degree in Engineering Physics, he attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg in 2017, he served as the parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church in Carlisle and chaplain of Dickinson College, then was moved to full-time campus ministry at Millersville University and Franklin and Marshall college. After being moved to St. John the Baptist in New Freedom where he served as parochial vicar and chaplain at York College, he was named pastor of St. Pius X in Selinsgrove and chaplain at Susquehanna University.

Monday, September 18 at 7 p.m. | St. Joseph Church, 2935 Kingston Road, East York


“The Eucharist as the Source and Summit of Creation” presented by Father Peter Rettig

The Eucharist fulfills creation’s purpose.  Let us come to know creation by adoring its origin and goal – the Most Holy Eucharist.

Registration Deadline: September 16, 2023

Presenter Bio

Fr. Peter Rettig attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary for three years, 2014-2017.  He then attended seminary at the University of Navarre in Spain. Upon returning from Spain, Fr. Rettig attended Mount St Mary’s Seminary and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg in June 2021.  He spent his first two years of the priesthood at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Lewistown and Saint Jude Thaddeus in Mifflintown.  He was recently reassigned to Saint Joseph Parish in East York, where he serves as Parochial Vicar.

Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. | St. Joseph Church, 5055 Grandview Road, Hanover

“The Church’s History of Care for Creation” presented by Father Michael Rothan

Registration Deadline: September 18, 2023

Monday, September 25 at 7 p.m. | St. Theresa Church, 1300 Bridge Street, New Cumberland


“Catholic Social Teaching and How We Show Care for Creation” presented by Father Matthew Cannon

This presentation will summarize Catholic social teaching and its seven guiding principles. At the heart of this teaching is the Eucharist, Jesus Himself, as He guides us to create community and unity through the Church and the world. Please join us at St. Theresa’s in New Cumberland in the Little Flower Social Hall or through zoom.

Registration Deadline: September 23, 2023

Presenter Bio

Fr. Cannon grew up in Lancaster, the oldest of three brothers to his parents, Bruce and Barbara. In June, he became an uncle to a little girl named Maya. Fr. Cannon was ordained to the priesthood in 2019, after which, he was assigned to Holy Name of Jesus Church in Harrisburg and served there for three years as parochial vicar. He is currently in his second year as the parochial vicar of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus and as a chaplain at Trinity High School.

Since childhood, Fr. Cannon has enjoyed being outside, especially hiking and camping. During the Covid lockdown, he spent a good amount of time going to different parks and nature areas, giving him a greater appreciation and respect for God’s creation.

Wednesday, September 27 at 7 p.m. | St. John the Baptist Church, 315 N. Constitution Ave., New Freedom


“Care for Our Common Home” presented by Michael Wright, LSW

This presentation will summarize Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, the church’s first encyclical that focuses on “integral ecology” and care for creation. Significant themes from the encyclical will be covered, including how everything is connected, the intrinsic value of creation, current socio-economic challenges, and what we as followers of Christ can do to “care for our common home.”

Registration Deadline: September 25, 2023

Presenter Bio
Michael Wright is a father of three, a retired NASA engineer, and a licensed social worker. He is a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in New Freedom, where he founded the Care for Creation ministry, the only one in the Diocese. Mike is also a freelance writer on the environment and faith. He is the author of the booklet, 10 Things Pope Francis Wants You to Know About the Environment and Catholic Update: Pope Francis and the Environment (both from Liguori Publications). His articles have appeared in National Catholic ReporterU.S. Catholic and Liguorian magazines. He owns a 19th century farmhouse in York County, with solar photovoltaic and hot water, two spring-fed geothermal systems, and a charging station for his electric vehicle.

Monday, October 2 at 7 p.m. | St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1439 Market Street, Harrisburg


“Saint Francis and the Canticle of Creation” presented by Father Manuel Aviles, OFM Cap. *bilingual (Spanish)

St. Francis of Assisi was a religious brother that discovered God in everything that was created by Him (eg. sun, moon, fire, water, etc.). Through prayer and contemplation, St. Francis of Assisi learn to praise God at all times (Gal. 2:20). In this talk we will learn to discover God in everything that has been created by Him.

Registration Deadline: September 30, 2023

Presenter Bio
Fr. Aviles is a Capuchin Franciscan Friar and belongs to the Province of St. Augustin based in Pittsburgh. He is originally from El Salvador and came to the USA when he was about 11 years old. Fr. Aviles has been a priest for over eight years and has been pastor at St. Francis of Assisi for over a year.