In the northern hemisphere, Spring has sprung….and many of us are heading outside to enjoy the gifts of God’s wondrous creation. By popular demand, this email focuses on ideas and resources for those Creation Care Teams that may be either planning or already have plans for a community garden, a prayer garden, or a butterfly garden.
I also wish you and your Creation Care Team a joyous Earth Day celebration on April 22nd. I hope you find this year’s Earth Day program useful and spiritually enriching. Don’t forget to send me stories/photos of your Earth Day celebrations.
How will you take action?
Prayer of the Christian Farmer (or Gardener)
O God, Source and Giver of all things,
Who manifests Your infinite majesty, power and goodness
in the earth about us, we give You honor and glory.
For the sun and rain, for the manifold fruits of our fields,
for the increase of our herds and flocks we thank You.
For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace,
we are grateful.
Supreme Lord of the harvest,
graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil,
in union with Christ Your Son, as atonement for our sins,
for the growth of Your Church,
for peace and charity in our homes,
for salvation to all.
Prayer Source: Novena in Honor of St. Isidore: Patron of Farmers by National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Organic Farming/Gardening as Solution to Climate Change
Watch this short video from The Rodale Institute on how organic farming and gardening can help save the world from global warming.
How to Get Started:
Discuss as a group whether your parish, school, or religious community interested in starting a community garden? Is there interest in creating a prayer/meditation garden, or perhaps a smaller butterfly garden? If your parish or school is in an urban environment and lack land for a garden, you might consider volunteering in a neighborhood community garden.
Here are some resources to help you get started. Plan to spend one to two meetings of your CCT meeting time researching and discussing the possibilities.
1) Watch this one-hour webinar, "How Does Your Garden Grow? The How-To's and Many Benefits of Community Gardening", hosted by the Church of the Brethren and featuring Gerry Lee, organic farmer and Director of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns.
2) Reach out to your local county/state Cooperative Extension office. Their staff will help you start a garden, choose appropriate plants, give you pest control tips and information about lawn care (including soil tests).
a) Every Church Should Have a Community Garden and Why, by A Rocha USA.
b) 10 Steps to Starting a Community Garden, American Community Garden Association
c) The Archdiocese of Atlanta's Laudato Si' in Action Plan has great tips for "Creating Sustainable Landscapes" (pgs. 32-36). Includes information on:
" Native plants
" Using correct planting procedures
" Minimizing chemical use
" Creating a meditation garden
d) Faith in Place has a variety of toolkits to assist you in starting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project, Native Plant Garden, and habitat restoration.
e) Get ideas form some Churches /Schools with community gardens and/or garden ministries:
St. Mark's Catholic Church Garden Ministry, Boise ID
Holy Cross Catholic Church Community Garden, Durham NC.
Church of the Incarnation Butterfly Garden, Wethersfield CT.
St. Francis of Assisi School Butterfly Garden, Baltimore MD
St. Peter Meditation Garden, Jupiter FL
Recycling/Composting: Take a walk around your parish or school kitchen and community rooms. Do a spot check:
1) Are there recycling bins available and clearly marked in all rooms? Are non-recyclables being co-mingled with recyclables? Talk to Building Services or Administrative staff about any improvements that may be needed.
2) Are paper towels in bathrooms and kitchens being recycled/composted? Remember that food waste, paper, coffee grounds, etc. can be composted on the grounds in a backyard compost system. Backyard compost systems need not be elaborate. Zero-Waste Church has gathered some wonderful composting tips.
3) Research to see if there are composting services available in your area that can take items like meat, dairy and compostable plates, cups, etc.
Plastic Reduction Efforts: This year's Earth Day program resource encourages Catholic schools, parishes, and communities to reduce single use plastic consumption. If your community is participating in any plastic reduction effort/project, please sign-up here and then report back (during Season of Creation…Sept. 1st-Oct. 4th) your results here.
Carpool Sunday: Pick a Sunday this Spring or Summer where your parish will be invited to leave their car at home and bike, carpool, or take public transportation to Church. Use this sign-up sheet to arrange carpools.
Catholic Energies: Contact Catholic Energies to learn how:
- Our buildings/facilities can save 40% of the energy that is normally wasted
- Average Catholic parish/school can save $14,000 per year through energy updates
- Catholic Energies can be your single point of contact for energy procurement, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
New Website: Catholic Energies launched its new and improved websiteon 4/9. Check it out!
Upcoming Catholic Energies Webinars: Interested in learning more about Catholic Energies? Have others you want to introduce to the program?
Sign up today for one of our upcoming Introduction to Catholic Energies webinars:
April 19 - 3pm EDT Register here.
May 1 - 1pm EDT Register here.