‘The Letter: A Message for our Earth’ will be screened at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium on Wednesday, October 4 in conjunction with the Season of Creation celebrations from Sept. 1 – Oct. 4 and in partnership with the Archdiocese of Dubuque, the Dubuque Interfaith Green Coalition, and the Dubuque Social Justice Network.

The 80-minute documentary is inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si', which explores ancient Catholic teaching on creation in the light of today’s ecological crisis. The film features an exclusive dialogue between Pope Francis and five people from around the world, all of whom have experienced the ecological crisis and are working to solve it.

The film, which was produced by Oscar-winning producers Off the Fence and the Catholic nonprofit Laudato Si’ Movement in collaboration with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has been watched by over 8 million people to date via YouTube.

“With the 2023 Season of Creation theme ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow,’ and the symbol being a mighty river, we felt it essential to connect our creation care awareness efforts to the Mississippi River,” said Deacon Brian Zeman, Director of Life, Earth, and Social Justice Ministry Archdiocese of Dubuque. “One of the most vital themes of Pope Francis's Laudato Si encyclical is integral ecology, the reality that we're all interconnected. Therefore, our ability to connect with the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium on the final day of Season of Creation, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, for ‘The Letter’ screening brings our Season of Creation efforts full circle.”

The Letter is an opportunity for the community to spend time reflecting on the impact of the global ecological crisis and spark meaningful conversations with loved ones and neighbors. The event at the River Museum will begin with a reception at 6 P.M. followed by the screening at 6:30 P.M. Guests are encouraged to stay for a panel discussion following the film.

“The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium’s mission is to inspire the care and management of rivers and history by creating educational experiences in our community,” said Jared McGovern, former Director of Conservation at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and soon-to-be Director of The Wanderwood Gardens, who will be serving as a panelist for the event. “It’s our responsibility as humans to steward our environment, including our rivers, and there is hope for that if we chose to have faith in one another. I find peace in nature; I find honor in stewardship, and I find purpose as an environmental educator, so I look forward to being a part of this great community event and panel.”

The event will take place in the Mississippi River Discovery Center in the Journey Theater and is free for the public. Registration is required as space is limited. The registration link is available at on The Letter: A Message from Our Earth event page.

Following a viewing of the film at the River Museum, audience members may want to involve themselves further in sustainable change for the planet. More information and resources on how to get involved with the film is available at

In partnership with:

Archdiocese of Dubuque