‘My Green Parrish’ Project
Interparochial group of integral ecology, V.S.L.; Buzanada; La Camella. Municipality of Arona. South of Tenerife
It all began, a long time ago, in 2014, with the
presentation to the pastor of a report "Respect and care for the earth
that God gave us" and the need for the involvement of the parish to
jointly seek new ways to live ecological solidarity and to witness, as
Christian believers, the task of changing the little piece of the world that
depends on our involvement.
Why from the parish? We understood that it would
be the ideal place to address the issue of ecological conversion since we could
serve as an example by giving witness in our environment through the community.
"It is not enough to be a believer, we have to be credible" the great
prophet Pedro Casaldáliga said.
The first steps were to look for information, reading everything related with this topic, Manos Unidas, Justice and Peace, Caritas, Entreculturas, Global Catholic Climate Movement... later on, the Laudato si' encyclic came out (2015) and the campaign 'If you take care of the planet, you fight against poverty' of «Connect yourself for Justice» (2016).
On the individual level, we were doing our bit, insisting a lot and always remembering how important the care of Creation is. On the community level, we separated waste at the agape and we took it to the appropriate containers; we also prepared some liturgies in the environment related days. We continued with this plan for 2 years.
We presented the project: "My parish is green" with the objective of "Respecting and caring for the land that God gave us" to raise awareness, sensitize and work on the acquisition of habits of the parish community.
We prepared the liturgies that had to do with "Integral Ecology": Environment Day, Water Day, Homeless Day, World Day of the Poor, Manos Unidas, Caritas, Missionary Month, Domund....
We sent information via whatsapp on significative days.
This project allowed us to give an answer, timid but courageous, to the serious problems we have on our planet. From the parish we did not only want to limit ourselves to the selective pick up of garbage, the recycling and the reuse of materials but to go a little further, encouraging all people who come to the church to interiorize that our mission, as a sign of a committed faith, is reconciliation with Creation, preserving and improving it.
This course was full of activities. We had always present that the formation and information is the base of our project. We prepared 4 informative pamphlets for the Parrish' community, to be also given to other people who was interested.
In the meetings of the Parrish which take place during the year: Christmas, Easter, special days such as theatre, encounters, excursions, retreats...we encourage to use environmental-friendly materials instead of those 'use and throw', avoiding excessive residues. We encourage people to make homemade shared food: tortillas, bread with chorizo, sandwiches of all kinds, sponge cakes, homemade desserts...
We store the water in 8 litre bottles, using a dispenser, so that people can serve it to them individually, avoiding soft drinks.
The parish was provided with reusable plates and glasses that are cleaned at each event by a cleaning team.
We organised a "talegas workshop" inviting all people of good will to participate: Caritas, parents of catechists, friends, relatives, neighbours. A collection of talegas were made from people who donated them to sell them later and donate the money collected to a project.
In September, we participated in the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" by preparing the liturgy and handing out the first of the pamphlets on Laudato Si'.
In November, we participated in the "Day of the Diocesan Church", collaborating in the week of the peripheries, proposing an activity that would motivate the greatest number of people possible, and we came up with the idea of holding a "Workshop of talegas" in each of the three parishes. The response of the people was spectacular. They brought back scraps from their houses, their machines and everything they needed for sewing. We talked to the Valley Farmers' Market so that all the material produced could be sold.
We set ourselves goals:
- Respect and care for the land that God gave us,
- Be aware of the use of bags, baskets, etc. to avoid unnecessary use of plastic bags.
- Witness, as Christian believers, the care of our "Common Home".
In January, the "talegas" (bags) were sold at the Valley Farmer's Market and the money we collected was donated to "Missionary Infancy". It was a very interesting day with the participation of the seamstresses, who did not stop making "talegas"; and a group of young people, who attended the public and explained the purpose of the stall at the market. We consider these days as a beautiful expression of community, solidarity and familiarity between the three parishes. The predisposition of the Town Hall and the workers of the Market was unbeatable, to such an extent that they offer us the facilities when we need them.
In February, Justice and Peace in the person of Santi Catalán gave us a talk on Laudato Si'. We also collaborated in the organisation of the "Hunger Dinner" of Manos Unidas in Buzanada.
The rest of the information leaflets were distributed between January and March and published on the "Justice and Peace" website.
During Holy Week we prepared the Way of the Cross on Good Friday, dedicated to "The Care of Creation". And in the play "Jesus", we organised a sewing workshop.
For Corpus Christi, because of the pollution caused by the salt used to make the carpets, we proposed that each parish should make one, using recycled materials, flowers...The savings measures we proposed began to be effective: the use of reusable plates and glasses, home-made food for the agape, replacing soft drinks with fruit and homemade lemonades...
The campaign "If you take care of the planet, you fight against poverty" begins a new stage focused on transforming attitudes, changing lifestyles.
We are called to be a poor Church for poor people; that is why we have set ourselves the goals of austerity and not generating waste. We are getting rid of plastics, using soap bars, beautifying the parish with plants and saving materials, photocopies...
The month of October 2019 was focused on the missionary month and the Synod of the Amazon. And to receive the children for catechesis we prepared a small play, based on the prayer vigil of «Connect Yourself for Justice», "Towards a new heaven and a new earth".
The COVID19 arrived
and although there is a break in the activities of the parish, all the above achievements are
still respected. Our collaboration in Laudato Si' Week, from 16th to 24th May,
was informative, through the parish whatsapp and facebook as well as in the
"Season of Creation". We continue our contribution to the liturgies.
Interparochial Group of Integral Ecology (Alejandro, Anjara, Ani, Mónica, Tere, Sayo)