[ACMPress] – ROME – An official at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints confirmed with ACMPress they’ve begun the beatification process for the man credited with saving Alaskan glaciers from the ravaging effects of climate change.
Phil Ehrrupp, a lifelong Catholic from Juneau who died in 2012, is believed to be the first person in Alaska to voluntarily stop using plastic grocery bags. In 2010, he spearheaded an incandescent light bulb replacement program at his parish, Our Lady of Sustainability, called “Be The CFL Light of the World”. Phil was also very concerned about pollution and fracking, and was known to write a lot of letters to the editor.
“Phil’s life of heroic virtue encapsulates what it means to be a saint in today’s Church,” one Congregation official told ACMPress. “Without a doubt, his example and sacrifice prevented the further retreat and deterioration of Alaskan glaciers. Phil perfectly represented the Holy Father’s unwavering commitment to protecting the environment, by far the Church’s most pressing issue, and will one day be called The Patron Saint of Climate Change.”
Family members were elated when they learned of Phil’s upcoming beatification, scheduled for Earth Day, 2019.
“Nobody worked harder to lower their carbon footprint than Phil,” his wife Carrie said. “His life ambition was to have zero impact upon our planet, and while dying six years ago helped him realize his goal, it’s wonderful the Church is recognizing him. If it weren’t for Phil, those glaciers would all be melted now.
“I’m sure his only regret was not having lived long enough to have read Pope Francis’ letter Laudato Si,” she added. “But who knows? Perhaps Phil inspired him to write it.”
Carrie said her family – their four children, thirteen grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews from around the world – along with hundreds of parishioners, are arranging flights to attend the beatification in Rome next Spring.
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