I’m the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Hampton, Virginia, and I strongly urge you to support Catholic Climate Covenant during their Year-End Appeal campaign. Let me say why.
(Be sure to check the special opportunity to enter a drawing to win a Memorial Wood Bowl! See below!)
As I reflect on this season of Advent and the cycle of creation, especially in the northern hemisphere, I know all of us feel the days shorten and the nights lengthen. In our daily routines and hectic pace of life, the loss of the light of day and increased darkness of night impacts us. We are keenly aware of it. The words of Isaiah, “The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light,” are emotionally amplified for us. Yet the darkness of evil, violence and sin are overwhelmed and dispelled by the compassionate love of God. In the midst of darkness, Jesus, the savior, comes. He is our light and hope. In him we walk in the light.
Being transformed by the light of Christ, we are offered the opportunity to share this promise of Emmanuel with the world. The Church is called to be a witness for the Kingdom of God in love and hope. We are to be a community shaped by the light of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Amidst the darkness of the world, the opportunity to literally use light has been given to us here at Immaculate Conception. The lights of Advent and Christmas are now powered by the sun itself. The heat which keeps parishioners warm and creates a comfortable environment for those sharing at our weekly community suppers comes from 440 solar panels on our roof. We are the first parish in the Diocese of Richmond to be on 100% solar power for our electrical energy needs. Thanks to the expertise and guidance of Catholic Energies and resources of Catholic Climate Covenant, Immaculate Conception now operates on 100% renewable energy.
This success began with a call to the Covenant’s executive director, Dan Misleh, and Catholic Energies team member, Page Gravely. It was a real partnership, the parishioners learned through the process, and the results are amazing:
- Our energy cost dropped 14%
- We have zero carbon emissions
- We didn’t have to raise a dime to pay for it: Catholic Energies found the investors for us
- We pride ourselves in being a “Laudato Si' Parish”
- New initiatives to care for God’s creation are inspired by this effort and now touching many of our ministries
It is so important to have a national organization like Catholic Climate Covenant to be our voice in advocating for the care of the gift God has given to all of us, creation itself. They have ambitious plans for 2020 and, in my experience, I have no doubt they can deliver. But they will need your help. Please support the efforts of Catholic Climate Covenant—a true light on behalf of the gift of life and a beacon for future generations.
Fr. John Grace
Immaculate Conception Parish
P.S.: Give $200+ For A Chance to Win a Memory Bowl
As engineers prepared the land for the installation of 5,072 solar panels for a Catholic Energies developed project (in partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington) a large maple needed to be removed. Salvaging wood from this tree, an incredible artist, Chris Carskaddan, created ten limited-edition bowls to hold the tree in memory.
As a special thank you, any end-of-the-year appeal donor who gives at least $200 is eligible to win one of these meaningful and beautiful bowls.