A strong belief in the environmental movement led to Franciscan spirituality. That in turn introduced Pope Francis and the 2015 papal encyclical “Laudato Si’,” a document that pointed out the latticework of relationships on planet Earth.

That’s the path that Daniel Salomon, 39, took from Reformed Judaism to Catholicism. Salomon was baptized in 2016 at St. Clare Church in Southwest Portland.

“It took many years of discernment,” said Salomon, who attends Torah studies at synagogue with his understanding parents, then goes to Mass on Sundays, where he is a lector. Salomon’s deep knowledge of Hebrew Scripture has helped him understand Christianity and Jesus.

“Going back to my Jewish roots is what makes Catholicism make sense,” he said.

Jews tend to live with questions, while Catholics give answers, said Salomon.

His parents supported him in his warm embrace of Catholicism. They could tell it made him happy. Meanwhile, his sister is a modern Orthodox Jew who has moved to Israel. It is all working out.

“The Catholic Church makes sacred a lot of things I care about — creation, family,” said Salomon, an author who writes about the environment.

He especially appreciates that “Laudato Si’” elicits hope and empowerment, not despair, when it comes to the health of the planet.

“It is Christian environmentalism at its most mature,” he said.

It’s fitting that his parish is named for a Franciscan saint, said Salomon. He loves many saints, especially Francis and Clare, but also other Franciscan heroes like St. Bonaventure, a scholastic theologian, and St. Anthony of Padua, known for preaching and scholarship.

Salomon has done advanced theological study and specializes in the relationship of faith and science. He said the two fields are not at odds, but that relationship is problematic in ways that still are not quite solved.

He is about to enter an urban studies master’s and doctorate program at Portland State University.

At his parish, Salomon likes the holy balance. St. Clare, he said, is pious plus open and diverse.

He was identified as lector material because of his booming vocal cords. “I have a very loud voice,” he said plainly. Before a revamp of the St. Clare sound system, he was one of the few lectors that senior citizens could hear.

While his volume is natural, he explained, he also reads as someone who really believes.