Have you noticed the large bunches of grapes hanging from the choir loft? Those grapes represent the seven Environmental Goals identified by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’, and form the basis of a worldwide movement within the Catholic church. St. Francis of Assisi Parish has joined this movement and these goals inform our Environmental Team as they plan events and initiatives for our parish. As we complete projects we add a leaf to that bunch of grapes. Hopefully over time the leaves will completely fill in!
Cry of the Earth – We hear the earth crying out to us for help, begging us to be the stewards of Creation that God created us to be. The earth cries out that we must stop wasting her precious resources and find ways to work with her to sustain life. We have responded to this goal by installing a Rain Garden and rain cisterns, holding the Pollinator Garden Webinar and by continuing to plant pollinator gardens on our church property to support ecosystems.
Cry of the Poor – Responding to the Cry of the Poor means recognizing that the marginalized are often the most affected by ecological hardships, and we must find ways to work together for ecological justice for all. Our parish community responds to this goal every year through Share Lent and other Development & Peace Campaigns. Our expanded vegetable gardens have also already provided six deliveries of produce to Tiny Home Takeout!
Ecological Economics – With Ecological Economics we acknowledge that the economy is a human system which can support or destroy life, and we are called to create an economy which is life giving, which focuses on sustainability and justice for humans and all of creation. St. Francis Parish strives to buy sustainable products whenever they are available and to hire local tradespersons to maintain and repair equipment instead of simply buying new every time.
Sustainable Living – Adopting a Sustainable Lifestyle is a very spiritual practice because it requires us to be purposeful, to think about our purchases and daily decisions and how they affect our neighbours and our environment. Our parish has a long history of sustainable practices including only using reusable, compostable or recyclable products which means we never have more than two bags of garbage even after our large parish dinners!
Ecological Education – As we strive to make changes in our own lives and the broader society we need to continue this work in future generations, by encouraging our schools and teachers of all kinds to incorporate ecology into every aspect of education. St. Francis Parish works to help educate people of all ages through our weekly tips in the bulletin, periodic environmental newsletters, and through partnership with St. Paul’s School to create new gardens there.
Ecological Spirituality – The goal of Ecological Spirituality is to help us rediscover God in all things, in His beautiful creation, in the struggles of those around us, everywhere. The Spirit is not removed from us, but is moving all over this land, through every aspect of our lives. Our parish prayed the Stations of Creation this past Lent, and we continue to connect our spiritual lives with creation through our Indigenous Garden and many of these Summer Series articles.
Community Engagement – In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis reminds us that we are not individuals living in our own worlds but members of the human family living as part of this one Creation. As such, we cannot accomplish these goals on our own. To this end St. Francis Parish joined the Faith Climate Justice group of churches in Waterloo region; we sent a petition for new laws to govern Canadian companies exploiting other countries’ resources to parliament, and we continue to build relationships with Indigenous and other community groups to promote the Laudato Si’ Environmental Goals everywhere.
~ by Alice Soeder