09 Green Parishes for a Green Diocese - Fr. Luke Rodrigues SJ

posted Sep 19, 2018, 9:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 19, 2018, 9:02 AM ]
Caring for Creation has always been a part of the Church's mission, but it has now clearly come centre stage, after the Encyclical Laudato Si'. In it, Pope Francis called for a new and universal solidarity, so that all could cooperate as instruments of God for the care of Creation (cf. LS 14). He also urged Christians to go deep into their tradition and discover therein the faith convictions that propel us towards ecological commitments (cf. LS 64). Responding to this call in our Archdiocese, Cardinal Oswald Gracias has initiated a process by which the Archdiocese of Bombay will become a 'Green Diocese'.

Cardinal Oswald launched the 'Green Diocese' initiative on September 1, 2018 (World Day of Prayer for Creation), nominating Bishop Allwyn D'Silva as his delegate to take forward this initiative. All of us are called to discern and put into practice concrete ways of greening our Archdiocese. Given below, under five broad categories, are some suggestions which can be implemented in our parishes, and also adopted at a personal level. We remain mindful, of course, that this is a long term initiative that we must work on over several years.

1. Spirituality

It is of prime importance to build up an inner attitude of love and respect for Creation. Our efforts to care for the Earth will surely meet with several obstacles and disappointments. The strength to persevere has to spring from a deep spirituality – a spirituality that affirms the essential goodness of Creation and the inter-connectedness of all beings. To nurture this spirituality, we must seek ways to have direct contact with Nature. Nature walks, hikes and camps enable us to experience and deepen our bond with Creation. It would be very fruitful to encourage hobbies related to Nature, such as gardening, hiking, bird watching etc. Meditations and exercises of praying with Creation help us discover the presence of God in Nature. On specific occasions, the parish community can pray for Creation, lifting up in prayer the suffering Earth, the poor and all those who are engaged in ecological restoration. The Season of Creation (Sept. 1 – Oct. 4) is a good time to introduce such prayer services in the parish, but there are many other suitable occasions as well. Our parishioners can also be encouraged to participate in Eco-retreats, which are gradually becoming more available.