The Diocesan Care for Creation Committee will hold a gathering of parish leaders to discuss best practices for educating the community about protecting the environment. Everyone is welcome to the meeting at Villa Maria Convent in Cheektowaga, Monday, Oct. 23.
Organized by Sister Sharon Goodremote, FSSJ, chair of the diocesan Care for Creation Committee, the gathering is a follow up to a similar meeting last May.
"We're going to bring together people from parishes that already have some activities that they're doing in parishes for the care of creation, especially in response to the encyclical 'Laudato Si (Praise be To You),'" Sister Sharon said.
Pope Francis' encyclical calls for everyone to protect the common home of the earth.
As with the first meeting, parish representatives will explain what they are doing at their parishes and offer ways to bring that idea to other communities.
"Various parishes that have either a Social Justice Committee or a Care for Creation Committee come and share what they're already doing in response to the encyclical and care for creation," Sister Sharon explained.
Sister Sharon said those who attended the first gathering responded enthusiastically. "It was just an energizing time to see there are other people in the diocese who really want to do this that I can go to for help," she said. "That's one of our goals, to let them know they're not alone in trying to educate their parishes about our moral responsibility as Catholics to care for creation, and they have people they can go to to help them through that."
Sheila McCarthy attended spring session. "I thought it was excellent," she said, adding her parish of Blessed Sacrament in Buffalo presented some ideas they had after a three-part discussion session on "Laudato Si."
"People from other parishes presented on where they were. Some were barely starting and just getting a committee going, and others were quite far along," McCarthy said. "It was just very informative. I think all of us, even if we had some ideas about it and had been working on implementation of the ideas of the encyclical. We all learned from the enthusiasm of the various groups."
Blessed Sacrament formed a subgroup of their Peace and Justice Committee that puts monthly blurbs into the parish bulletin about environmental issues like recycling.
As chairs of the Social Action Committee at SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Williamsville, Joe and Diane Butch found the gathering to be full of useful information they brought back to their parish.
"We're starting slow and taking baby steps, but I anticipate that this will affect all of the different ministries at the church," Butch said.
Villa Maria Convent is located at 600 Doat St., Buffalo.