Cry of the Earth
- Rain Garden: In 2017 we installed a Rain Garden on the north side of St. Francis of Assisi Church, and invited all our parishioners to learn about and install their own rain gardens. Our garden has helped reduce runoff into the sewer system and provides many low-maintenance and beautiful plants for local pollinators.
- Pollinator Garden – St. Francis’ Parish Gardens have been registered with RARE’s 1000 Gardens Project as a Pollinator Garden, thanks to all the native species planted on our property that provide food for local bees and other pollinators.
- Pollinator Garden Webinar – St. Francis will host a speaker from RARE on Saturday February 5th at 1:30pm for a webinar on how to create your own Pollinator Garden! Contact the parish office for more information or to register for this event which will use the zoom platform.
- Toxic Waste Drop-Off Day – We are in the process of planning a date when parishioners can bring toxic waste such as automotive fluids, fuel, household cleaners, paints, solvents and more to the church and we will transport it to the Region of Waterloo Landfill on Erb St. for proper disposal by their staff. If you have items you need to dispose of before our drop-off date please do not include them with your regular garbage pickup but drop them off at Region of Waterloo Landfill during their regular hours.
Cry of the Poor
- Share Lent Campaign – Each year St. Francis Parish participates in Development & Peace’ Share Lent fundraising campaign. Thank you to all who contributed in 2022, we raised over $4,000!
- Expand Edible Gardens – In Spring of 2022 we built two new garden plots on church property. This expanded capacity means we now grow enough produce to share with St. Mary’s Tiny Home Takeout as well as with our parish families.
- Supporting Sustainable Local Businesses – 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.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at St. Francis: Many years ago we declared St. Francis of Assisi Parish a single use plastic free parish. All disposable items used for parish events are compostable or recyclable. Our Building Manager helps to educate us on how to sort our waste, and ensures that all waste from the parish is properly disposed of. Even after a large parish event for 200+ people we rarely have more than one bag of actual garbage at the end.
- Christmas of Fraternity: On World Day of the Poor 2021 St. Francis Parish produced a Christmas of Fraternity newsletter encouraging people to “Gift Sustainably” at Christmas. It included ideas for local, used, reusable and ecologically sustainable gifts.
- Rain Barrels & Cisterns: St. Francis Parish has two rain barrels and a large 1000 L cistern which supply the water needed to sustain our flower beds and edible gardens. Rain barrels are incredibly easy to install and anyone interested in learning more about them should check out REEP Green Solutions.
- Fruit Harvesting: We plan to poll our parishioners this year to find out who has fruit trees on their properties which are under-utilized, and hopefully volunteers can harvest this unused fruit and process it to share with the community.
- Creation Care Bulletin Tips: You will find a Creation Care Tip relating to the Sunday Scripture Readings in almost every bulletin at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Check them out each week for simple ideas on how to become better stewards of God’s creation.
- Laudato Si’ Environmental Team Newsletters: We produce periodic newsletters to keep the parishioners up to date on our initiatives and invite people to participate.
- St. Paul’s School Gardens: During the 2021-2022 school year members of our Laudato Si’ Environmental Team helped staff and students at St. Paul’s Elementary School plant new vegetable gardens. This taught the students about gardening, caring for the Earth and sustainable living, and the vegetables produced will be share with the school community. You can read more about this project here.
- Stations of Creation: On Friday March 18 the parish celebrated the Way of Beauty, Stations of Creation as part of our Lenten Friday Stations of the Cross. These non-traditional stations were also adapted into a video prayer service which was posted on our parish website for anyone to spend half an hour in contemplation of God’s creation.
- Indigenous Garden & Relationships: As we built our Indigenous Garden in the Spring of 2022 we worked with leaders from Anishnabeg Outreach Centre to learn about Indigenous spirituality and culture, and those teachings helped us design the garden and what was planted in it. We continue to learn from the Three Sisters how to work and grow together, to make each other stronger and to care together for our common home. You can read more about our Indigenous Garden here.
- Faith Climate Justice Banner: In fall of 2021 we installed a banner on the front of St. Francis of Assisi Church which says ACT NOW! This banner is displayed on many churches in Waterloo Region including our sister churches in the Ecumenical Churches of Forest Hill. It proclaims our solidarity with all those who work to protect Creation and create a sustainable future for all, and encourages others to join us!
- Development & Peace People & Planet First Petition: In Fall of 2021 the parishioners of St. Francis signed a petition asking the Canadian Government to enact laws that will compel Canadian companies to conduct due diligence across their overseas operations and that will give the victims of their abuses access to justice in Canadian courts. This petition was presented in parliament by our Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice on March 4. You can track it’s status by clicking here.
- Indigenous Garden Signage: In the Spring of 2022 we built an Indigenous Garden on the front lawn of the church property. We are working on signage to help those who attend Mass or who simply walk by to engage with the garden, and to learn from the traditions and practices of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who cared for this land before us.