Westport Eco-Congregation

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Reducing carbon emissions in our town/county

Westport Eco Congregation are planning a campaign to reduce carbon emissions in our county.  Our hope is to eradicate single use plastic bottles from our town. Here is one practical and concrete action all of us can take in response to the many and varied calls from COP26 to reduce carbon emissions globally. We are confident that you, your family and friends will want to be part of this environmental campaign. We invite you to join us. Begin by refusing to buy plastic bottles; use refill bottles instead. We can do this together. Our individual choices and behaviour do matter greatly. Collaborating with sports’ clubs and schools will become part of this campaign.

Did you know that Ireland produces the equivalent of 2,000 water bottles per person annually?  We generate around 3 billion single use plastic bottles per year. 31% of this plastic ends up in landfill

We will keep you updated as we move forward with this campaign.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

In 8 days, the United Nations climate change summit, COP26, is set to begin in Glasgow, Scotland.

The two-week conference (Oct 31-Nov12) will be of crucial importance as it is expected to finalise the Paris Agreement.

 Beyond the negotiations, COP26 provides the opportunity for civil society, including faith-based organizations, to bring the voices of the most affected communities of climate change into the global debate on climate justice.                                                                                        

To meet this challenge everyone has a role to play - that of political and government leaders is especially important, and indeed crucial. We also need to be engaged with it, be informed about it and pray that all government leaders be given great wisdom, foresight and concern for the common good.  

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

To mark the recent presentation of the Gold Award to Westport Eco Congregation, two beautiful apple trees were planted on the green area - left of the slip road between Rice College and Knockranny.  Appreciation to Caitriona McCarthy (Edible Landscapes) who sourced this Heritage variety Apple tree called ‘Kilkenny Pearmain’ and for her helpful advice and support. We are very grateful to Ann Moore who on behalf of Mayo County Council gave permission to have the trees planted in this beautiful green area. The planting took place on Tuesday 5th of October at 2.30 p.m.  The sun shone gloriously as Pat Fahy (Westport Tidy Towns Biodiversity Officer) and members of Westport Eco Congregation dug the ground and planted the trees. We had great fun!  We are delighted that this event coincides with SPAR National Tree Day 2021 which takes place on Thursday, 7th October. The theme they have chosen for this year is ‘Trees are Good neighbours’ ‘Is comharsana den scoth iad crainn’  Trees are some of our greatest neighbours and are so vital to our environment and our planet.
Our AGM is on Monday 11th October at 7 p.m.  You are very welcome to attend.

 Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com 

Chairperson: Rev. Canon Jennifer McWhirter - 085 877 8650          

Administration Officer: Caroline Goucher - 086 8745314       

PRO: Kathleen Friel - 087 8520602 

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Care of Creation

The AGM of Westport Eco Congregation is on Tuesday 12th October at 7 p.m.  You are very welcome to attend.

 If you wish to receive the zoom link for this meeting, please contact any of the following.

Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com

Chairperson: Rev. Canon Jennifer McWhirter - 085 877 8650          

Administration Officer: Caroline Goucher - 086 8745314         

PRO: Kathleen Friel - 087 8520602 

The presentation of the Gold Award to Westport Eco Congregation (Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s parishes) will take place during the Harvest Festival celebration in Holy Trinity at 11.30 a.m. on this Sunday 3rd October.


You are warmly welcomed to attend.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Season of Creation 1st September – 4th October

Eco Congregation Westport (Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s parishes) had the honour of being granted the Gold Award from Eco Congregation Ireland earlier this year.  The presentation of this award was postponed owing to Covid restrictions. We are now very happy to announce that this presentation to both St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity parishes, will take place in Holy Trinity church, during their upcoming Harvest Festival in October and just as the Season of Creation draws to a close. We are very grateful to Canon Jen McWhirter for facilitating and hosting this event on behalf of Westport Eco Congregation.

 “The Harvest Festival in Holy Trinity Parish Church will be held on Sunday 3rd October at 11.30am.  The preacher this year will be the newest recruit to our diocesan clergy team - The Revd. Martin Steele, who was ordained deacon on Sunday 12th September.  We’re throwing him in at the deep end!

Part of our celebration this year will be the presentation of the Westport Eco-Congregation Gold Award.  We are so proud of the Eco-Congregation committee who were granted this award by Eco-Congregation Ireland earlier this year.  This was the culmination of a lot of hard work and outstanding commitment to caring for our Common Home. We are delighted to be celebrating this achievement here in Holy Trinity during our Harvest Festival.

Anyone who wishes to attend this service will be most welcome.”                             

(Canon Jen McWhirter, rector of Holy Trinity)


A reminder to visit the Season of Creation Prayer Space at the back of the church during the month of September.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation


Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby, of Canterbury join together for the first time in urgent appeal for the future of the planet.

“As world leaders prepare to meet in November at Glasgow to deliberate on the future of our planet, we pray for them and consider what are the choices we must all make. Accordingly, as leaders of our Churches, we call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful action/choices for the sake of the earth, and future generations…

……This is the first time that the three of us feel compelled to address together the urgency of environmental sustainability, its impact on persistent poverty, and the importance of global cooperation. All of us—whoever and wherever we are—can play a part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation.

This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”

(The above is part of the joint appeal that was released by the Vatican on September 7 marking the Season of Creation)

Please visit the Care of Creation prayer space at the back of the church which will be in place during the Season of Creation.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Season of Creation 1st September – 4th October

Pope Francis on Sunday last called on all people to take “decisive, urgent action” during the upcoming Season of Creation in order to “transform this crisis into an opportunity.”

During this Season of Creation Westport Eco Congregation invites you to consider how your daily routines impact Earth - our daily choices make a difference - here are some suggestions:

  • Carry your own reusable water bottle.

  • Avoid single use products such as plastic or Styrofoam cups, bottles, cutlery, straws.

  • Buy fair trade products that are ethically and sustainably sourced when possible.

  • If you can’t recycle it, don’t buy it.

  • Start composting, or sign up for a compost collection service in your area

  • Discuss and promote environmental issues with friends and family.

  • Calculate your carbon footprint using an online calculator https://www.footprintcalculator.org/

A prayer for our earth from ‘Laudato Si’ 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.                                                                            You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.                     

Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.             Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.                                                                         Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation,                                                                                         to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.                                                                                       

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. 


Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

We are fast approaching the Season of Creation which runs from September 1st (World Day of Prayer for Creation) to October 4th (the feast of St. Francis of Assisi). Amid numerous crises which have shaken our world, the theme chosen this year is “Restoring Our Common Home” During this season we are asked to join together to celebrate creation and protect our common home through prayer, reflection and action. Laudato Si’ calls faith communities to respond and reminds us that “All is not lost. Human beings… are capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start… [embarking] on new paths….” (LS, 205).                  

The forthcoming Season of Creation is a wonderful opportunity to do just that. We urge people to sign the “Healthy Planet Healthy People” petition as a key action for this Season of Creation. To do this please visit www.healthyplanetandpeople.org

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

At the heart of the Laudato Si document written by Pope Francis in 2015 is the call to care for “Our Common Home” and to be keenly aware that everything in our world is connected. This is our starting and ending point.

Possible Actions: There is only a slight difference between the biochemical make-up of plant cells and animal cells. Anything that kills a plant could potentially kill an animal/human. If it kills an insect, it will kill a human if the dose is relative to our size. There is really no safe amount of weedkiller or pesticide.

The fight with Bayer/Monsanto is a high stakes battle, and conclusive proof that weedkiller is toxic/carcinogenic, is difficult. Big companies are capable of paying off jurors etc. and those who profit from using their chemicals continue to deny that they are harmful. Many food producers (including Irish) increase their profits by using weedkiller before planting and/or before harvesting.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

The Season of Creation 2021 runs from 1st September to 4th October.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

Recent events in the US have amplified for us the interconnectedness between all of us humans.  We cannot fail to be affected by the brutality suffered by our fellow humans.

It was this awareness that prompted one woman, Natalie Isaacs, an Australian to change her life completely.  Once she became aware of the connection between the hardship suffered by so many in the developing world, caused by Climate Change, she knew she had to do something.  She could not stand by.  She eventually set up 1Million women, encouraging women all over the developed world to change their way of life, to lower their carbon emissions, in support of women in poorer countries who are most affected by Climate Change. “If women and children of developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, then women from wealthy countries have so much to contribute to the solution through the way we live. This is about lifestyle”. (Natalie Isaacs)

 Today the membership of this movement, 1Million Women stands at 800,000!

What can EACH ONE of us do to show our solidarity with the people of our world who suffer the brutality of life caused by Climate Change every day.  Getting fired up when we hear of one horrendous cruelty is good, but how much better would it be if we held that fire for ACTION in any way possible to relieve the brutality of the Climate Crisis in poor countries.  To learn more about the POWER of ONE, as shown by Natalie Isaacs log into www.1millionwomen.com.au.

Here in Westport why not get involved with Westport Eco-Congregation or perhaps join the Book study group on Laudato Si to become more informed about Climate Change and its effects. 

For more information, ring Mary Manning at 087 2421330, Caroline Goucher at 0868745314, Kathleen Friel at 087 8520602 or email westportecocongregation @gmail.com.

Twitter: @WestEcoCong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WestportEcoCongregation/

Youtube: Westport Eco-Congregation

Email: westportecocongregation@gmail.com 



 Start with what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible”.

As we come out of the acute threat of COVID 19, we now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world where both the economy and climate are dealt with in tandem. Trillions of dollars are now being pumped into countries, so let us pray and urge our leaders to make the courageous decisions that will see a better quality of life for all of us, including our future generations as global citizens.

What NECESSARY actions can we, as individuals take now?

  • Look at how we use our cars.  Can we walk or cycle instead of driving?

  • What food choices are we making?  Buying food grown as near as possible to where we live, reduces the carbon miles.

  • Can we reduce the amount of packaging on our purchases…bringing our own containers/bags for fruit/veg, meat/fish and many other items? 

  • Plastic bottles of water are a totally unnecessary scourge. There is a great variety of reusable bottles available and you are saving both your money and the planet at the same time, by buying one.

What can we do that is POSSIBLE?  Here is one suggestion…

  • We, at Westport Eco-Congregation are organising a study group on Laudato Si, with Jane Mellett the Laudato Si officer at Trocaire.  This will take place on Zoom and is free.  We invite anyone who is interested in becoming more involved in the Care of our Earth, to join us. 

  • For more information, ring Kathleen Friel at 087 8520602,  Caroline Goucher at 0868745314 or Mary Manning at 087 2421330 or email at westportecocongregation@gmail.com

Let’s take SMALL STEPS FOR BIG CHANGES and before long, we will be doing what we thought was IMPOSSIBLE.

The Westport Congregation has united since the publication of ‘Laudato si' (Italian for ‘Praise Be to You’) encyclical of Pope Francis, subtitled ‘On Care For Our Common Home’ in it, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental and global warming and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action”.

In the Westport area our response to 'Care of Creation' is to gather to respond.

Our vision is to see local community churches adopt an eco-approach to worship, lifestyle, property, finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

We aim to achieve the national Eco-Congregation Award in 2017. This will be the project lead while collaborating with other local groups in the area. We met once a month in Carrowbeg House, The Mall, Westport, County Mayo.

Our areas of interest are: Worship and Teaching, Children’s and Youth Work, Property and Grounds Management, Finance and Waste, Personal Lifestyles, Working with the Local Community and Thinking Globally.
Supporting members:
• Westport parishes (Fr.Charlie & Rev. Jen)
• Westport Tidy Towns
• Westport Smarter Travel
• Westport Mens Shed
• WESCo (Westport Environmental Sustainable Community)
• Westport Sustainability Group
• Edible Landscape
• West Mayo Municipal District office of Mayo Co Co

Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WestportEcoCongregation/

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

COP26 came to a close late on Saturday Nov.13th. Its final document, the Glasgow Climate Pact, shows some signs of progress in the global effort to rapidly limit dangerous levels of warming, but not nearly enough, or fast enough. The conclusion is very disappointing. Our work is even more important now. The only way the leaders of the world will act with more urgency is if the public continue to pressurise them.

Some reactions to the climate deal agreed at the conclusion of COP26

"I think today we can say with credibility that we've kept 1.5 (degrees Celsius) within reach. But its pulse is weak, and we will only survive if we keep our promises. (...) History has been made here in Glasgow." COP26 President Alok Sharma

"COP26 has made some progress, but nowhere near enough to avoid climate disaster…. Leaders have extended by a year this window of opportunity to avert the worst of the climate crisis. The world urgently needs them to step up more decisively next year” Mary Robinson

"This package is not perfect…… but it is real progress and elements of the Glasgow Package are a lifeline for my country. We must not discount the crucial wins covered in this package” Marshall Islands Climate Envoy Tina Stege

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation


Before you start shopping for Christmas and purchasing more “stuff” consider your options or even perhaps think through what those you love really need.

Westport eco congregation have come up with some alternative ideas for this season of good will. 

  1. Be present: Take time to be with loved ones, sit with them, turn off or silence your phone and listen to them. If regulations allow arrange to meet a dear one for lunch or coffee or go for a walk with them. Ask how they are and what they need at this time of year.

  2. Instead of purchasing a gift be the gift: Perhaps someone you know may need a night off cooking and you could make a dinner for a busy mum or single parent. For busy parents who may need quality time away, consider arranging to baby sit or pick their child up from school; or you may know someone who is cash tight and paying a bill for them or getting them fuel/food voucher would bring great relief.