A “Green” parish going forward…
St. Charles-Borromée and St. Cecil are both parish churches. In the next few months, the St. Jean-Eudes Christian community will merge with that of St. Charles-Borromée, considered one of the most populous parishes in the Diocese of Quebec. People have a great sense of belonging to the community and are energetic and generous in their involvement. For the past few years now, concrete actions to promote ecology have been undertaken by parishioners. As part of a pastoral team, I have presented “Green Church” initiatives which have greatly inspired me. Members of our team and many parishioners have been very receptive to these initiatives and have concluded that there is an urgent need to get involve in this great work of awareness, action and openness to a “Creation-centred” spirituality. Here are a few initiatives which have been undertaken:
- Paper recycling bins in offices and church.
- Printer cartridge recycling bins available at both St. Cecil and St. Charles-Borromée as well as in the rectory.
- Celebrating “Earth Day” by holding an outdoor Way of the Cross (2011).
- Celebrating Halloween differently through an event at the Trait Carré (400 fair trade coffees and hot chocolates served in recyclable and compostable cups). Distribution of 1,000 Camino chocolate squares to children and awareness leaflets to parents.
- Development and Peace campaign: Drinking water for everyone is a matter of justice. An in-house survey was conducted to get to know the rectory employees’ point of view on the matter.
- Film screening of “Home” at St. Charles-Borromée in partnership with Nagua Café and Development and Peace.
- Workshop/conference pertaining to our responsibility, as baptized Christians, for the environmental crisis.
- A “Pow Wow” was held in the Charlesbourg area park for young families. Two Manawan Native Indian community artists from the Haute-Mauricie were invited (Gilbert Niquay and Sipi Flamand). All who attended were able to discover the Native Indian culture through a “grass dance” with hoops with Gilbert and Sipi featuring music and guitar along with his parents who presented their rich traditions and culture.
- Ecological “Green Tips” published in our weekly church bulletin.
- We also make use of some biodegradable cleaning products for housekeeping.
These are only a few examples which will allow us to evolve, both in church and in society, toward greater environmental awareness and awareness of our responsibility towards God’s creation… There are no small actions. As it is said in the movie “Home”: “It is much too late to be pessimistic.”
Partnerships with organizations that take social justice to heart, along with solidarity, responsibility, education and mutual aid, such as Plan Nagua, EUM, Fairtrade Canada, St. Pierre and Des Sentiers high schools, St. Jean-Eudes externship, La Source, round table for youth prevention, Development and Peace and, of course, GreenChurch.ca, to name only a few, are strongly encouraged.
I would like to quote, in closing, Pope John Paul II who directly calls on each and every one of the baptized:
“Christians, among other people, know that their duties as part of creation and their duties towards nature and its Creator are integral parts of their faith.”
Message of John Paul II for the celebration of the XXIII World Day for Peace