top of page

Westport Eco-Congregation

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Westport Eco Congregation wish to thank all of you who participated in the “Regifting weekend” of 13th and 14th of January. There was a wonderful response to our invitation, which continued for some days after that weekend.

Sharing, reusing, repairing, and recycling things, we already have and extending the life of items as long as possible, contributes to a more circular economy-minimising our carbon footprint in the process.

Many people now view ‘regifting’ as a responsible and eco-friendly practice. We encourage you to continue “regifting”.  Charity shops will be delighted to receive your offerings.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

WEEKEND MASSES SATURDAY FEBRUARY 3RD 6.30P.M. & SUNDAY 4TH 11.00A.M.

At the invitation of The Westport ECO-Congregation, we will also have Padraigin Clancy a Parish Pastoral Worker from St Michael’s Parish, Inchicore, Dublin as our guest speaker at our masses. She will share her reflections on St Brigid’s special significance as our Second Patron Saint of Ireland.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

CELEBRATING ST BRIGID:

Mass for Feast of St Brigid Thursday February 1st 10am.  

(You are welcome to bring your own St Brigid crosses to be blessed) On Friday February 2nd at 7pm you are invited to a special Celebration of St Brigid in St Mary’s Church Westport. The ceremony is organised by Westport Parish Pastoral Council.  (1.) Copies of a new prayer card (2.) Free St Brigid Crosses will be supplied and blessed. (3.) Brat Bride (small pieces of special cloth) will be blessed and distributed free of charge. (4.) Also the Westport Eco-Congregation have arranged for the ECI Climate Justice Candle to be lit. (5.) Blessing of Candles and Throats. This will be a very special family occasion for all members of our Parish to celebrate our only Irish Female Patron Saint on the Bank Holiday weekend.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

REGIFTING WEEKEND 13-14TH JANUARY

 If we want to move to a more circular economy we need to start sharing, reusing, repairing, and recycling things we already have and extending the life of items as long as possible.  We all agree that there is a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness. Regifting aligns with the principles of reducing waste and minimising our carbon footprint, as it extends the life of an item that might otherwise go unused or discarded. With the global awareness of environmental challenges, many people now view regifting as a responsible and eco-friendly practice. On top of that, Charity shops will gain much needed income from our regifting.  Westport Eco Congregation is delighted to host a REGIFTING Sunday – gifts can be left in the side chapel of St Marys Church after the masses on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th January 2024.  Worshippers in Holy Trinity can leave items on Sunday 14th January at 11.30.  Eco Congregation members will take it from there…

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Next week we mark the second festival in the Celtic Year…the Winter Solstice.  Solstice means the “sun stands still”, as if pausing in the darkness for just a little longer before it turns back on its journey into the light. Our Celtic ancestors  saw this as the birth of the sun… their light.  In the Christian world, this correlates to the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world, which we celebrate at Christmas.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

COP28 opened on 30th November with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action. The conference takes place in what is already known to be the hottest year ever recorded in human history and as the impacts of the climate crisis wreak unprecedented havoc on human life and livelihoods around the world.

                                                                             

The Conference ends on December 12th.

This Conference (COP28) aims to address the climate crisis by agreeing on ways to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Over 70,000 delegates, including member states, business leaders, young people, climate scientists, indigenous peoples, journalists, and various other experts and stakeholders are in attendance.

Pope Francis who had planned to be there, but could not go because of illness, appealed directly to the delegates saying “it is essential that there be a breakthrough, that is not a partial change of course” He also voiced solidarity with young people and the poor, asking that for the sake of their future and the future of the world we protect our Common Home “let us safeguard creation and protect our common home; let us live in peace and promote peace!”

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Following on from last week’s piece on how to Green your Christmas – Westport Eco Congregation encourages us to give our PRESENCE rather than presents.  Visiting a person or bringing someone out for a coffee can be a beautiful gift. The offer of cooking and sharing a meal during the winter could be a great gift for a friend or family member who lives alone. Spending time, chatting and listening to a family member or friend is very worthwhile and can be immensely rewarding both for the recipient and the donor.  Other ways of giving our PRESENCE could include an offer to babysit, or taking someone to the cinema or simply going for a walk followed by lunch or coffee. By giving our PRESENCE or gifting homemade items we are supporting the circular economy where the model of production and consumption, involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Greening Christmas is an invitation to all to consider our Planet Earth and help reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season.  According to a report by MyWaste.ie the annual Christmas splurge sees us produce 25% – 30% more waste than we normally do, which in turn costs all financially and harms the environment.

Eco Congregation Westport invites all to consider the burden of our Christmas activities.  With just a little effort an imagination we can save financially and reduce the impact on our precious earth.  It is important to be conscious of the planet in our Christmas preparation and choosing of gifts.  Buying locally produced products wherever possible, supports small businesses, reduces transportation costs thus having a positive environmental impact.  We can lessen the impact on our planet by choosing goods that are manufactured from recycled sources. It also helps to avoid where possible, buying gifts

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

The European Union produces more than 2.2 billion tonnes of waste every year.  Currently it is updating its legislation on waste management to promote a shift to a more sustainable model known as “The Circular economy”. This is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.  In this way the life cycle of products is extended. Reusing and recycling products would slow down the use of natural resources, reduce landscape and habitat disruption and help to limit biodiversity loss. Another benefit is a reduction in total annual greenhouse gas emissions - many great reasons listed there to motivate and encourage all of us to do what we can to reduce waste to a minimum by following the 5 r’s Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

The importance of the Genesis narratives is that it is not just about humans. It is also about the animal kingdom and the plants and the water and the sky and everything else. God loves everything in creation (John 3:16)                                                                                                                           Humanity is in direct relationship with the land and all creation, a principle found throughout the scriptures and in some of the most poetic places, like Job 12:7–10, where Job says:                                                                                                                                               

Just ask the animals, and they will teach you.
Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.
Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.
Let the fish in the sea speak to you.
For they all know
that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord.
For the life of every living thing is in his hand,
and the breath of every human being.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Celtic Festival of SAMHAIN

In Celtic Spirituality, all Hallow’s eve which was called SAMHAIN, was the beginning of the Celtic New Year.  It marked the end of Summer, the beginning of Winter, the dark half of the year.  The Celts saw Nature as the first Scripture. It was their teacher in how-to live-in harmony with the natural world.  So, at this time as nature seems to die back, we are invited to turn inwards, into the dark part of ourselves, to release what needs to die in us, to rest as the seeds that have dropped to earth are doing, and to restore ourselves in preparation for the surge of growth that comes in Springtime….. (For the rest of this article, take a copy of the page printed and available at the Church door)

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Throughout Laudato Si in particular, as well as Laudato Deum, Pope Francis is categorical in relation to the Oneness of all Creation.

The conversion we seek “entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion”. LS.220

Jesus “was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attraction full of fondness and wonder. As he made his way throughout the land, he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his father, and invited his disciples to perceive a divine message in things”. LD.64

Hence, “the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise, because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds which his human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with his radiant presence”. If “the universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely… there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face”. The world sings of an infinite Love: how can we fail to care for it? LD.65

“Nature as a whole not only manifests God but it is a locus of God’s presence” LS 88

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Periodically over the coming weeks we will offer you some short quotations from the recently published exhortation from Pope Francis - Laudate Deum

“There are no lasting changes without cultural changes, without a maturing of lifestyles and convictions within societies, and there are no cultural changes without personal changes.” (LD.70)

"I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home and to help make it more beautiful, because that commitment has to do with our personal dignity and highest values. At the same time, I cannot deny that it is necessary to be honest and recognize that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level.........The mere fact that personal, family and community habits are changing is contributing to greater concern about the unfulfilled responsibilities of the political sectors and indignation at the lack of
interest shown by the powerful. Let us realize, then, that even though this (personal climate action) does not immediately produce a notable effect from the quantitative standpoint, we are helping to bring about large processes of transformation rising from deep within society." (LD 69 & 71)

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation


“The world is not moving fast enough to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change” - Pope Francis said on Wednesday last 4th October feast of St. Francis, when he released his new Exhortation “Laudate Deum” (LD).
There’s a notably urgent tone throughout this new exhortation. Eight years on from the publication of Laudato Si’ Pope Francis believes that the world has largely failed to rise to the challenges he spoke about there. Laudate Deum (Praise God) is his urgent appeal to all of us, leaders of every kind to join forces against the Climate Crisis and play our part in protecting our fragile planet.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Caring for creation is living out our faith. The Church, following the teachings of Jesus, throughout time has exhorted believers to work for the common good, which calls for dignifying life in all its forms, caring for our common home, and committing to the construction of more just, supportive, fraternal and peaceful societies. These are some ways to achieve what Pope Francis calls integral ecology in his teaching letter, the Encyclical Laudato Si (2015). Often, when we speak of creation, it is related to nature, animals, landscapes, the sun, the moon, but we are also aware that the human being is the culmination of our Father’s creative work, “God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen 1:31), the Sacred Scripture states. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, “‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation’. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. In this Season of Creation, we are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored.

 

  • A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. . . . Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society." (Pope Francis, On Care for Our Common Home [Laudato Si'],nos. 49, 91)

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

The Season “Celebration” begins 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

This year we will unite around the theme, “Let Justice and Peace Flow” 2023 Theme

The world humans have known, enjoyed and celebrated is changing rapidly beyond repair. Biodiversity is being lost at a rate not seen since the last mass extinction. The hope of keeping average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fading. The futures of young people are threatened by the cascading impacts of the loss of biodiversity and a changing climate. Industrialization, colonization and the extraction and consumption of resources have created great wealth, unequally distributed.

Our individual actions during the Season of Creation are important. We must also recognise that, for a mighty movement of justice, individual actions are not enough. Justice also includes paying historic debts. At a global level, nations with power and wealth have a duty to deal justly and honestly with communities that suffer most from the climate and ecological crises.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

From September 1-October 4, the Christian family unites worldwide in prayer and action for creation during the Season of Creation. The 2023 theme is

 “Let Justice and Peace Flow.”

The symbol is the mighty river.

Prophet Amos cries out: But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24) and so we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity. As the people of God, we must work together on behalf of all Creation, as part of that mighty river of peace and justice.

Remember, when we join the river of justice and peace with others, it creates hope instead of despair.”

Westport Eco Congregation invite the parish to visit our Season of Creation display at the rear of St. Mary’s and to unite with us in prayer and action on Climate Change.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

As we come to the end of Plastic free July campaign – we are only at the start of the campaign to eradicate as much plastic as we can from our lives!!  Hopefully we all now have our refill bottle with us and have stopped buying single use plastic bottles.  Our keep cup is with us when we need a take away coffee.  We now use a bamboo toothbrush.  When shopping we avoid items wrapped in excess plastic. Thankfully many supermarkets are now stocking vegetables not wrapped in plastic.  It is up to us to ask our shops to reduce plastic.  If we see plastic in nature, collect it and recycle if possible or put into rubbish bins. 

Every action we take to eliminate plastic will make a difference.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Will you be part of Plastic free July? As part of plastic free July Westport eco congregation is asking the public to refrain from purchasing plastic bottles.  220,000 plastic bottles are generated every day in Ireland.  Coast Watch Ireland reported that 3.9 bottles were found in every 100m on Irish Coastline in 2021!  Irish people spend more than 100 million euro every year on plastic bottles.  Ireland only recycles 34% of plastic bottles.  2 out of 3 bottles are never recycled.  In tests, bottled water has been found to contain more microplastics than tap water. An array of phthalates, the chemicals that make plastic pliable, can leach into the water we drink from plastic bottles. So not so yummy for us or our environment.  Many businesses around Ireland will re fill a water bottle for free – Check out Refill.ie for a map of the businesses – they display a logo in their window – In Westport we have several businesses offering this service – including Pax, Savoir Fare and Florist on James St.  Say no to the plastic bottle!!

 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Plastic free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities.  Will you be part of Plastic free July by choosing to refuse single use plastics?

22,000 coffee cups are disposed of in Ireland every hour, that is 528,000 every day or 200 million a year.

Single use coffee cups are not on Recycling List Ireland and cannot be put in the Recycling Bin.

Up to 200 million single use coffee cups are thrown away every year in Ireland, and cannot be disposed of in recycling bins.

That is the message from Recycling List Ireland*, as it encourages coffee and tea lovers to reduce their use of disposable cups, and consider using a ceramic or reusable coffee cup instead.

While many disposable cups carry the recyclable logo, the actual cup is not currently recyclable in Ireland and must be disposed of in general waste. The logo refers only to the rigid plastic lids and the cardboard sleeves on some cups, which can be removed and placed for recycling.

Waste Prevention Officer with the Southern Region Waste Management Office and Recycling List Ireland’s Pauline McDonogh said, “As disposable cups are made largely from paper many people believe they can be recycled, but unfortunately this is not the case. These cups are lined with plastic polyethylene which is fused to the paper making the cups waterproof but also difficult to recycle.

“Of course single use cups are also contaminated by the drink they contained, which is yet another reason why they cannot be added to the bin of clean and dry recyclables.”

“As many as six single use coffee cups are disposed of every second in Ireland, which results in a lot of non-recyclable waste in the form of 528,000 single use cups every day. Right now the only way to combat this waste is to reduce our dependency on these single use coffee cups,” explained Ms McDonogh.

“Recycling list Ireland is not suggesting however that anyone goes without their regular cuppa, but we are appealing to consumers to consider using the ceramic cup in their favourite cafe or bring along a re-useable cup for their take away. Once the reusable cup has been used more than 15 times, it is more sustainable than a disposable cup.”

“It is worth noting that more than 1,000 cafés in Ireland are now giving a discount to consumers with a reusable cup so long term a reusable cup can make environmental and economical sense.  Will you be part of Plastic free July?

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

World Ocean Day is celebrated annually on June 8th to highlight the important role the ocean has for our life and the planet. For 2023, the focus of World Ocean Day will be on the 30×30 campaign meaning that for us to create a healthy ocean with abundant wildlife and to stabilize our climate, it’s crucial that 30% of our planet’s lands, waters, and ocean are protected by the year 2030.   

Marine litter has become a global problem for humans and marine life alike. However, communities around Ireland have demonstrated their desire to be part of the solution by taking part in several beach cleaning calls to action. Clean Coasts are once more asking you to join us and take action to protect the ocean.  

Making sure litter is collected and disposed of properly at the source is vital for a cleaner ocean and a greener world for all of us to enjoy.  

In 2021, the initiative changed its name from “World Oceans Day” to “World Ocean Day”. By dropping the “s”, its organisers wanted to highlight the fact that we are all connected by a large ocean. This shared ocean supports all life on the planet, by producing most of the oxygen we breathe and regulating climate. No matter where we live, we all depend on the ocean to survive. 

This means that each piece of marine litter removed from a beach, river, lake, park or street in Ireland, will have a positive impact on a global scale. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Laudato Si’ Week 2023 is celebrated May 21-28 with the film “The Letter” to mark the eighth anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on care for creation. This global celebration will unite people to rejoice in the progress made since bringing Laudato Si’ to life. The theme of this week is Hope for the Earth – Hope for Humanity. I would highly recommend the public to look at this ground breaking film – it shows in a stark way how climate change is affecting various communities throughout the world. 

The movie is available on You tube – The Letter.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

National Bike Week takes place from 14- 22 May.  The benefits to be gained from cycling are immense. They include improved health, reduced traffic congestion, better air quality, improved accessibility to transport, and reduced costs. Cycling is a Low impact exercise and it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.  It is an easy activity - unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget. 

Cycling is a fantastic way to get from A to B, to enjoy the countryside or just to get some air and exercise.  Mayo County Council have many cycling events and these can be found on their website.

 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Earth Week 14th – 22nd April 2023

Build a brighter, greener, and more equitable future for generations to come. Be a part of the solution. The time is NOW to Invest in Our Planet! It’s time to divest from destruction and invest in a sustainable, safe future. 

Reduce your plastic consumption.

                                                                                               

Did you know that 35% of microplastics in the world's oceans come from the laundering of synthetic fibers? Harmful industries are responsible for an incredible portion of greenhouse gas emissions, pollutants, and other harmful elements, all while raking in profit at record rates. Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental problems we face in today’s world. We all contribute to this problem and must work to reduce, and ultimately end, plastic pollution. Make a plan this Earth Day to reduce your plastic consumption using EARTHDAY.ORG’s plastic calculator

 

Make sustainable fashion choices.                                                                                                                     

The fast fashion industry has completely revolutionised fashion, but not for the better. Behind every piece of clothing in the store, there is a destructive industry stripping the Earth of its limited resources and placing a devastating toll on the labour force working in garment factories. Tremendous amounts of waste characterise this industry, as we send approximately 40 million tons of textiles to landfills or to be incinerated every year. In total, the fashion industry is responsible for over 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Since 1970, billions of individuals from more than 190 countries worldwide have come together every April 22nd to take action towards a greener, more equitable future for our planet. As the countdown to Earth Day 2023 continues, it is important to remember regardless of where you are or what you do, you have the power to yield real change and be a champion for Earth. To protect our planet, we must invest in it.

Rallying behind this year’s theme, “INVEST IN OUR PLANET”, which highlights the importance of dedicating our time, resources, and energy to solving the climate crisis, here are two ways you can actively participate in Earth Day 2023: (further suggestions will be offered in next week’s parish newsletter)

Plant trees or a pollinator garden. Trees are one of the most powerful tools to combat the climate crisis.  Plant a tree/s or donate to campaigns, like EARTHDAY.ORG’s  “The Canopy Project” to help reforestation efforts across the world.

Pollination is essential for all terrestrial life on Earth. PLANT A POLLINATOR GARDEN using species native to your area to support local populations of butterflies, bees, and other organisms critical to sustained biodiversity in your ecosystem.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

National Tree Week: 19th to 26th March

Themes this year:

Plant trees - Restore Hope
This week is celebrated to encourage people to plant, look after and improve their knowledge about trees.

Biodiversity begins with Trees.
Trees provide an important food source for bees.                         

Catkins on hazel and willow provide welcome pollen in Spring. Flowering trees with nectar and pollen - such as hawthorn, blackthorn elder, rowan and lime are immensely valuable to bees and other insects in late Spring and early Summer.

Plant a native Irish tree in your garden or grounds if possible.

Enjoy the outdoors.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Westport Eco-Congregation is honoured to have Martin Palmer, Founding President & Chief Executive of the non-profit network Faith Invest deliver a talk entitled ‘FAITH IN THE FUTURE’, on Zoom on Monday, March 6th at 7.30pm.

Martin was a member of the panel at our recent screening of “THE LETTER” and his views and wisdom on matters environmental and the role faiths can play here, left many of us wanting more. 

Martin’s talk will be an optimistic and forward-looking exploration of faith-aligned solutions to climate change and other major issues of our time… inviting us to try and live with the notion, that “Perhaps the best is yet to come!” Then the issues about the future are not just about addressing the crises but about having a vision of what could be rather than just what has to be prevented.

 Martin Palmer is an international specialist on all major faiths and religious traditions and cultures. He is the author and editor of more than 20 books on religious and environmental topics. 

VENUE:   On Zoom

DATE and TIME:   Monday, March 6th, 2023, at 7.30pm

BOOKING:  Please email westportecocongregation@gmail.com with your name and email address. 

This is an event not to be missed!  Put it in your diary                                                                                                                         

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation

Westport Eco-congregation is delighted to invite you to a talk on a recently published book, called THE PARISH AS OASIS - An introduction to Practical Environmental Care.  We are honoured to have the authors Dr. Kevin Hargaden and Dr.Ciara Murphy with us at Westport Town Hall (Staunton Room) on Tuesday, Feb.21st at 7.30pm.  

Kevin and Ciara will introduce us to many practical and accessible ways in which parishes and small communities can contribute to healing the environmental crisis. These topics include the role that can be played by parishes and small communities in getting us back on our bicycles, building sustainable communities, rewilding, reducing food waste and even looking at the tradition of organising pilgrimages and its effect on our carbon footprint! 

Their presentation will be followed by a Q&A which promises to be lively and stimulating.  There is no charge for this event, but come early as places are limited!

Dr Kevin Hargaden is the Director and Social Theologian, and Dr. Ciara Murphy is an ecologist, both working at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice.

So, put the date FEB 21st at 7.30pm, in the Staunton Room at Westport Town Hall, in your diary!

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

According to an old Native American legend, one day there was a big fire in the forest. All the animals fled in terror in all directions, because it was a very violent fire. Suddenly, the jaguar saw a hummingbird pass over his head, but in the opposite direction. The hummingbird flew towards the fire!

Whatever happened, he wouldn't stop. Moments later, the jaguar saw him pass again, this time in the same direction as the jaguar was walking. He could observe this coming and going, until he decided to ask the bird about it because it seemed like very bizarre behaviour.

"What are you doing, hummingbird?" he asked.

"I am going to the lake," he answered, "I drink water with my beak and throw it on the fire to extinguish it.”

The jaguar laughed. "Are you crazy? Do you really think that you can put out that big fire on your own with your very small beak?”

“No," said the hummingbird, "I know I can't. But the forest is my home. It feeds me, it shelters me and my family. I am very grateful for that. And I help the forest grow by pollinating its flowers. I am part of her and the forest is part of me. I know I can't put out the fire, but I must do my part.”

At that moment, the forest spirits, who listened to the hummingbird, were moved by the bird and its devotion to the forest. And miraculously they sent a torrential downpour, which put an end to the great fire.

The Native American grandmothers would occasionally tell this story to their grandchildren, then conclude with, "Do you want to attract miracles into your life? Do your part. You have no responsibility to save the world or find the solutions to all problems - but to attend to your particular personal corner of the universe. As each person does that, the world saves itself."   And so it is. …..

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Earth and its Environment must be Saved from Ecological Destruction

Life is sustained by the Earth and its natural resources such as sunlight, air, water and vegetation. We must, therefore, protect Planet Earth, our home. Due to many wanton and indiscriminate activities of people driven by greed, selfishness and intolerance, the Earth and its environment have been adversely affected. This has caused certain species of wildlife to become extinct, and many species to be threatened and vulnerable. The life of almost all life forms is becoming difficult because of natural disturbances and destruction. If we do not save our Earth from destruction, our own life can get destroyed. As we move forward in this New Year and make promises and resolutions, please be mindful of the many small and big actions you and your family can take that will make a big difference in saving planet earth.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Over the last three weeks, delegates from over 190 countries attended the United Nations Biodiversity Summit Conference in Montreal Canada. It ended on Monday 19th December. An historic agreement ON BEHALF OF NATURE has finally been thrashed out. This global pact aims to halt and reverse the rapid loss of biodiversity by 2030, and in that span, set aside 30% of the world’s lands, oceans and waters for ecological conservation.  This agreement has the potential to create transformative action and build a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all life. Such moves are viewed as critical not just to stave off rapidly accelerating rates of species extinction, but also vital to international efforts to limit the impacts of climate change, In the words of the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres we are finally standing up for and with respect for nature.

Surely this is a “good news” story as we welcome with gratitude and joy this New Year, full of hopes and possibilities

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Over the last two weeks, delegates from over 190 countries attended the United Nations Biodiversity Summit Conference in Montreal Canada. It ended last Monday 19th December. An historic agreement ON BEHALF OF NATURE has finally been thrashed out. This global pact aims to halt and reverse the rapid loss of biodiversity by 2030, and in that span, set aside 30% of the world’s lands, oceans and waters for ecological conservation.  This agreement has the potential to create transformative action and build a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all life. Such moves are viewed as critical not just to stave off rapidly accelerating rates of species extinction, but also vital to international efforts to limit the impacts of climate change. In the words of the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres we are finally standing up for and with respect for nature.                                                                                                                                  

Surely this is a “good news” story as we welcome with gratitude and joy this Christmas Season.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Advent tips - It’s OK to Say No:  Be Gentle and Kind

  1. Sometimes being able to SAY NO frees us to see things from a new perspective. Many of the things we do at this time of year can seem like burdens. Give yourself permission to NOT DO joyless tasks this year. You may end up doing them anyway because you discover that they have a real value after all. But you also may find a sense of freedom in realizing that you don’t have to do everything after all.                                     

  2. And this is the advice and earnest plea of St. Francis to his friars- that when they travel about the world, they should not be quarrelsome or take part in disputes with words (see 2 Timothy 2:14) or criticize others; but they should be gentle, peaceful, and unassuming, courteous and humble, speaking respectfully to everyone, as is expected of them. Let us try this advice during these Advent days.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:


“For the sake of younger generations and their future, we must choose to eat, travel, spend, invest and live differently, thinking not only of immediate interest and gains but also of future benefits," (Pope Francis and other Christian leaders)

As we continue our Advent journey, let us think about the impact that our choices and options are making on our planet. The positive impact of buying locally is more far reaching and multifaceted than you might realise. “For every €50 someone spends on an Irish product, it’s worth €250 to the economy in the local community,” says Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, that spotlights home grown brands, and labels them with the ‘G’ symbol. “That money keeps going around in the circular economy, so not only does it make economic sense supporting local employment, it’s also got a lower carbon footprint and is sustainable.”

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

As parts of our world experienced rises in sea level, severe flooding and drought and some of the poorest countries in the world who have contributed least to the climate crisis are experiencing large losses and damage from climate impacts they are being left to pay for a crisis not of their making.  Greta Thunberg writes in  – The Climate Book  - many people still think of climate change as “a slow, linear and even rather harmless process”  “The climate is not just changing  It is breaking down…..We are entering a new era of more dramatic change” she adds.

COP27 offers Ireland the opportunity to lead by example: to take responsibility for its role in contributing towards the emissions that are spurring climate breakdown, and to work to advance climate justice. It also offers Ireland the chance to champion the voices of those most impacted, particularly grassroots women who face barriers to participate meaningfully in these negotiations and in climate decisions affecting their lives.”

The Letter – a film on the impact of climate change in various parts of the world will be screened at 7.30pm Tuesday November 29th in Town Hall Theatre Westport – admission free. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

In 2015, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’ (The Letter); an encyclical letter about the environmental crisis to every single person in the world. A few years later, four voices that have gone unheard in global conversations have been invited to an unprecedented dialogue with the Pope.

Hailing from Senegal, the Amazon, India, and Hawai’i, they bring perspective and solutions from the poor, the indigenous, the youth, and wildlife into a conversation with Pope Francis himself.

This documentary follows their journey to Rome and the extraordinary experiences that took place there, and is packed with powerfully moving personal stories alongside the latest information about the planetary crisis and the toll it’s taking on nature and people.

This beautiful film – a heartbreaking yet hopeful story – is a clarion cry to people everywhere: wake up! get serious! act together! act now!”

We are delighted to screen this film on Tuesday November 29th at 7.30 pm in Town Hall Theatre Westport. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 

Westport Eco Congregation will hold their AGM on Thursday 12th October at 7 pm in Holy Trinity NS.  The members of Westport Eco Congregation are inviting the public to attend their AGM and hear reports of their efforts to combat Climate Change in Westport and further afield. Our world and the future world will experience climatic changes never experienced before and we owe it to our neighbours in other parts of the world and our future generations to make every effort to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels , reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere and protect our bio diversity.  If you are interested in these issues we invite you to attend our meeting this Thursday at 7 pm.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Next week, on October 4th, the Season of Creation 2022 ends.  This season which has run from September 1st, is a time, designated by Pope Francis where we are invited to consider our care and stewardship of the Earth.  This year’s theme was “Listen to the Voice of Creation”… the voices of all our fellow humans, the animals who share this planet with us, and the earth and seas also.  As we are all aware, these voices, in many places in our world, are heart-breaking, as people and animals suffer from the catastrophic changes to our climate.  But, without attention and simple actions from those of us who live in more fortunate parts of the world, life will only get worse in places like Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa, where more than 1.7 million children are on the verge of death because of the successive failed rainy seasons.

How do we change our attitude to our planet?  How do we make that “ecological conversion” which Pope Francis speaks of in his ground-breaking encyclical on Care of our Common Home, Laudato Si.

October 4th the final day of the Season of Creation, is the feast day of the Patron saint of Ecology and Animals, St. Francis of Assisi.  Francis is a wonderful example of how we might walk more gently on this earth.  Francis believed that the Universe was the primary scripture, mirroring the beauty of God in its manifestations. It was through all this beauty that he praised God.  He singled out  the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire and called them his brothers and sisters, with the Earth as Sister/Mother Earth.

.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

We are almost at the end of the Season of Creation which started on September 1st, and will end on October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.

Here is an extract from the message that Pope Francis gave on the 1st day of this special Season.

 

“If we learn how to listen, we can hear in the voice of creation a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home.                                                     

The sweet song of creation invites us to practise an ‘ecological spirituality’ (Laudato Si 216) attentive to God’s presence in the natural world. It is a summons to base our spirituality on the ‘loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion’ (ibid., 220).                                                                                                                  

In this Season of Creation, we pray once more in the great cathedral of creation, and revel in the wonderful cosmic choir, made up of countless creatures, all singing the praises of God. Let us join Saint Francis of Assisi in singing: ‘Praise be to you, my Lord, for all your creatures’ (cf. Canticle of Brother Sun). Let us join the psalmist in singing, ‘Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!’ (Ps 150:6)”                                                                                                                  

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

The Season of Creation celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising activities to protect our natural environment. There are so many interruptions in our daily lives that it is very easy to go through life without giving the beauty of our world around us a second thought.

                                                                   Westport Eco Congregation is inviting you                                                                    

    to a quiet reflective walking meditation ….

                                                                Join us at the (Quay Gate) entrance to                                                                   

Westport House at 3 p.m today

Something practical for Season of Creation…

Here is an opportunity to take time out together to delight in nature, become aware of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. and to give thanks.

We are looking for new people to join our Tidy Towns  Committee

Lots of opportunities for people to join a very successful organisation and give back to your community.

If you would like to chat about becoming a member of our committee, send us a message on our Westport Tidy Towns Facebook page, email chamber@westportireland.com or telephone our office on 098 27375            

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 

The Season of Creation, which runs from September 1st to October 4th each year, celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment and become aware of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. The global family is called to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation, with each other and to encourage our parish communities to do the same, “for we know that things can change!” (Laudato Si’, 13).  As one of our responses to this, Westport Eco Congregation is inviting everyone of all faiths and none, to a quiet reflective walking meditation.                                                                                                              

Here is an opportunity to take time out together to reflect on our connection to the natural world to which we all belong, and to give thanks.                                                                                                     

 ‘In all things of nature, there is something of the marvellous’ – Aristotle

Come and join us at 3 pm Sunday 18th September at the entrance to Westport House. (Quay Gate) .

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:


The Season of Creation is marked throughout the Christian world from 1st September  (World day of prayer for Creation) to 4 October (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) and celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.

Amid numerous crises which have shaken our world, the theme chosen this year is “Listen to the Voice of Creation”- to the voices of those who suffer the impacts of climate change, to the voices of those who hold generational wisdom about how to live gratefully with the limits of the land.  These are voices of the Earth.                                                               

#The burning bush is the symbol chosen. Today, the prevalence of unnatural fires is a sign of the devastating effects that climate change has on the most vulnerable of our planet. Creation cries out as forests crackle, animals flee, and people are forced to migrate due to the fires of injustice. On the contrary, the fire that called to Moses as he tended the flock on Mt. Horeb did not consume or destroy the bush. This flame of the Spirit revealed God’s presence. This holy fire affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered and promised to be with us as we followed in faith to our deliverance from injustice.

The global Christian family is called to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and with each other and to encourage our parish communities to do the same, “for we know that things can change!” (Laudato Si’, 13).  

The Season of Creation is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Every year thousands of pairs of specs could be flown to developing countries. Many of us have old pairs of glasses lying around unused, yet 200 million people around the world need glasses every year.  People who can’t see properly cannot do their jobs, and children who can’t see properly can’t learn at school, so don’t bin your specs, recycle them.

Most opticians have a recycling box for the donation of used spectacles.  For example, Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Optician: Holy Trinity welcome specs for recycling as does Westport Lions Club who have a recycling box in country markets to deposit them. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

“For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”.[15 Laudato Si]

The climate and nature crisis can feel overwhelming, and it might seem difficult to know if progress is being made. But it is. We’ve seen some signs of nature recovering, ambitious new pledges made by our leaders and moments worth celebrating.  

We still have a long way to go and action needs to happen much faster, but we have reasons for hope. More people than ever before – people like you – are fighting to protect and restore our one shared home. 

Together we can create a better future. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

What if getting our relationship right with the Earth and all its creatures is not the scenic backdrop of some circus sideshow but as crucial as getting our relations right with our Creator, our family, and our neighbours? What if all of Creation is the most palpable expression of our Creator’s generosity, sense of wonder, and commitment to diversity? What happens if we begin to include the fungi, the flowers, the fritillary butterflies, and the flocks of wild geese as our neighbours, our family, and our Creator’s expressive face?  

It is true: whenever any of us feels gratitude for all of Earth’s creatures, we have become fully Present, fully alive ourselves.  

That may be what Saint Francis of Assisi meant when he urged us to “go out and preach the Good News and only when necessary use words.”                (Gary Paul Nabhan)

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

The first week of July was a ‘good news’ week as 35 faith institutions divested from the fossil fuel industry. This included some Irish announcements: The Archdiocese of Armagh, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Congregational Leadership of the Sisters of Mercy, the Christian Brothers Northern Province, the Rosminians’ Institute of Charity, and the Carmelites’ Delganey Monastery.    (In joining this divestment announcement, the Methodist Church in Ireland joins the three largest Churches in Ireland – the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Church of Ireland – in divesting from fossil fuels.)

The full press release included a strong statement from Archbishop Eamon Martin who said: “From a faith point of view, God is calling us to be caring stewards of creation, to protect and nourish our planet and its resources, and not to selfishly waste them or ruthlessly and excessively exploit and destroy them”.  Commenting on the announcement, Jane Mellett, Laudato Si’ Officer for Trócaire, said “Fossil fuel companies are driving the climate crisis, which is having a devastating effect on the most vulnerable people in our world and endangering all life on this planet. By divesting from the fossil fuel industry, Church institutions are taking a practical step to ensure a more sustainable future for all. It is the right thing to do and it answers Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’ for “Fossil fuels…to be progressively replaced without delay”.’ 

  

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

On 2 March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly agreed to create a historic global treaty to end plastic pollution in a landmark agreement.

Public concern about the increasing plastic waste and pollution crisis has grown over the last decade. In 2021 an estimated 140 million people from 190 countries took part in Plastic Free July, choosing to refuse single-use plastic. Globally, participants reduced 300 million kgs of plastic consumption.

So why a plastics treaty? Plastic pollution doesn’t care about borders. So individual citizens, companies, and countries can’t solve it on their own. Whilst many companies have taken important voluntary steps, and laid the foundations for wide-reaching cooperation, global rules and obligations are needed.

For the first time, governments from UN member states have committed to address the whole life cycle of plastic – from plastic production and transport, to manufacture, consumption and disposal – with the goal of ending plastic pollution. 

What you can do

  • Be part of the solution and join millions of people worldwide taking the Plastic Free July challenge

  • Follow us on social media where we share plastic free solutions and stories that help people reduce plastic waste everyday at home, work, school, and out in the community

  • Continue to voice your support of business and government plans to #EndPlasticPollution

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Our planet is in grave peril largely due to greed, overconsumption, and reckless exploitation. Climate-induced water problems are decreasing access to clean water. Already 663 million people lack access to clean water - that is 1 in every 10 people.

“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency despite its scarcity to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market.  Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right since it is essential to human survival, and as such is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.”  Pope Francis Laudato Si #30

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

World Ocean Day – June 8th 2022

The proliferation of plastic products in the last several decades has been extraordinary. Quite simply, humans are addicted to this nearly indestructible material. We are producing over 380 million tons of plastic every year, and some reports indicate that up to 50% of that is for single-use purposes – utilized for just a few moments, but on the planet for at least several hundred years. It’s estimated that more than 10 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.

The Ellen McArthur foundation predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish.  Now more than ever, each of us need to challenge our habits – are we buying things in single use plastic?  How can I change my shopping habits?  Do I use a reusable drinking bottle; do I refill my plastic bottles where possible?

 In honour of World Ocean Day, An Taisce will be giving away clean-up kits - containing bags, gloves, hi-viz vests etc - for communities, groups and individuals to organise beach clean-ups as well as on-land clean-ups nationwide. Please join them if possible, in taking action to protect the ocean by targeting Marine Litter at the source before it enters the sea.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 National Food Waste Recycling Week which runs from the 30th May until the 6th June 2022 is a new national campaign from MyWaste.ie to encourage people to recycle their food waste.

A previous study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that approximately 50% of household organic waste was being disposed of in the wrong bins. By segregating food waste correctly, it can be transformed into renewable energy and bio-fertilisers for horticulture and agricultural use.                                                                                                                            Check out MyWaste.ie for further details. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

National bike week is 14-21 May.  The concept of Bike Week is "everyday cycling for everyone" and aims to encourage those who wouldn't normally cycle to get on their bikes. Any outing on a bike counts – whether that's nipping round to a friend's house, cycling to work or school, enjoying a leisurely ride with the family or tackling a cycling challenge.

Why is cycling good for the environment?

Switching to walking or cycling for more of our shorter journeys helps to protect biodiversity. It creates less noise, less air pollution, and results in fewer emissions that are warming the atmosphere. We can help to protect our green spaces by showing its importance to communities, and to plant and wildlife.

Cycling is also benefiting our health- Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. - so this bike week why not get your bike out of the shed? You

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Care of Creation

As more and more of us are, and will be spending time on our beaches this summer, walking, picnicking, or swimming, it is a timely reminder that not only does litter spoil the beauty of our beaches, but it has a more serious impact on marine life and their habitats. #2MinuteBeachClean encourages everyone to join the growing number of people, reducing marine litter 2 minutes at a time.  Each and every piece of marine litter and plastic removed from the beach matters and helps keep our coasts clean.

Marine litter is a cross-border problem as once it enters the sea, it has no owner and its management needs good regional and international collaboration. Initiatives like the #2MinuteBeachClean and the Clean Coasts programme are ways you can help - as every piece of litter removed from the marine environment is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or be ingested by marine life.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Sustainable Gardening

To follow on from last week’s advice on sustainable gardening, here are a few more tips and suggestions that are easy to implement but will impact your garden and your efforts to garden sustainably.  Use peat-free compost - When we take peat for our gardens, carbon is released, and habitats are damaged. Keeping peat in bogs – not bags – is a crucial part of the fight against climate change. Our planet's billions of acres of peat hold more carbon than all the world’s forests combined. Collect rainwater – waterless – we only need to water pots – plants in the soil rarely need watering once established.  Consider not mowing part of your grass – let the wildflowers grow!  We are all very keen to have a manicured lawn – but think of the insects that are attracted to wildflowers.  Make your own compost – compost should contain weeds, vegetable and fruit waste, eggshell and a bit of loose paper – no cooked food as that attracts rodents.  Once the compost has rotted down it can be put around plants.  Grow some veg for your family – there is nothing nicer than picking some lettuce or beetroot from your own garden – start small and watch the success!

Sustainable Gardening means gardening in a smart and eco-friendly way. It's all about giving back to Mother Nature by using organic growing methods so you use fewer chemicals and adopt greener alternatives when you're gardening. Food produced in a sustainable garden is rich in terms of both nutrients and taste!

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22nd, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day provides an opportunity for environmental issues to claim the global spotlight, just for a moment. More than a billion people from approximately 192 countries participate in environmental campaigns every year at this time.

10 Earth Day Activities and Ideas for all of us

Go on a beach clean-up,                                                                         

 Plant a tree;                                                                                                       

Use wildflowers and native plants                                                                                          

Buy a bag for life;                                                                                                                                                

Walk or ride a bike;                                                                                                                         

Shop at a local farmer’s market.                                                                                               

Support our pollinators.                                                                                                                           

Clean up plastic in our local neighbourhood.                                                                             

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in the garden                                                                          

Stop pesticides and chemicals in your garden

And Just a reminder, Earth Day is not just for One Day – everyday is Earth Day.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

National Tree week took place this year March 20th –26th 2022. The theme was More forests for a Greener future. Recently I saw on TV that there is a new Irish Enterprise called ‘Reforest Nation’ which aims to restore Native Irish Woodlands by planting a diverse range of certified Irish trees. The aim is to plant one million native trees in Ireland by 2024.  By rewilding our forests Biodiversity can be promoted and many of our plant and animal species can be protected. For every tree planted here, one more is planted in areas severely affected by Climate change like Africa, Asia, and Central America……that is good news.

You may be aware of tree planting taking place in your own area. Why not give a helping hand? This year Coillte will donate 30,000 Native tree saplings – oak, birch and rowan. You may be lucky to receive one to plant in your garden or gift a tree for a special occasion.  In this way we are contributing to a healthy planet by planting trees and it is also a positive gift to the future.

There are a number of Irish websites you can visit: hometree.ie; reforestnation.ie; catchmycarbon.ie  

 Happy planting!

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Amidst the backdrop of challenging times, Earth Hour - with your support - provided a moment of solidarity, of unity, and a reminder that we must work together to look after each other and the one home we all share.

Westport Eco Congregation would like to thank everyone who helped with Earth Hour 2022.  Mayo County Council delivered our Earth-Hour clock to the Town Hall Theatre Westport, where it was displayed for the weekend.                                                                                                                                          

Many thanks to the musicians from Liscarney, who entertained the public at the Earth Hour Event. Eco congregation thank St Marys and Holy Trinity Churches for their on-going support of our work of “Caring for our Common home” and raising awareness about the reality of Climate Change.

Our group continue to highlight the issue of single use plastic bottles and once again we want to invite and encourage the public to be part of this campaign by using reusable drink bottles.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Another Tip for Lent

Every year thousands of pairs of specs could be flown to developing countries. Many of us have old pairs of glasses lying around unused, yet 200 million people around the world need glasses every year.  People who can’t see properly cannot do their jobs, and children who can’t see properly can’t learn at school, so don’t bin your specs, recycle them.

Most opticians have a recycling box for the donation of used spectacles.  For example, Specsavers, Vision Express, and Boots Optician: Holy Trinity welcome specs for recycling as does Westport Lions Club who have a recycling box in country GUIDANCE markets to deposit them. 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

What can you do about the issues facing Earth today? Here are some of the practices that will help you reduce your overall impact. 

 

  • Consume less overall: commit to buying fewer things and trying to make your belongings last. 

  • Declutter: find new homes for the items you don’t use. 

  • Compost: set up a composting bin or drop your organic waste off to be composted. 

  • Invest in renewable resources:  Spend more time walking, biking or using public transportation when you can. 

  • Avoid single-use items: e.g. participate in the campaign to rid Westport and our County of plastic bottles. 

  • Buy mindfully: support sustainable and environmentally conscious businesses 

  • Get informed and vote: support green initiatives, especially those concerning waste disposal and renewable energy.

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

In a pastoral letter for the Season of Creation 2021 Archbishop Dermot Farrell makes the following urgent call -

 

https://dublindiocese.ie/wpcontent/uploads/2021/08/Archbishop-Farrell-Pastoral-Letter-The-Cry-of-the-Earth.pdf

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

In a pastoral letter for the Season of Creation 2021 Archbishop Dermot Farrell makes the following urgent call -

“I ask you to join with me in reflecting on the threat, posed by the climate crisis, to the existence of our world as we know it. More than that, I ask you to join with me in wondering what people of faith and communities of faith – the people and parishes of the Archdiocese of Dublin – might do to mitigate this disaster. I ask you to join with me in reading our world – the ‘Book of Nature’, as the ancients called it.                                                                           

Alongside the Book of Nature, I also ask you to join me in reading the Scriptures, the Word of God – the other great book of our faith – in a quest for insight, inspiration and strength so as to live in a new way on this earth, our common home. Nothing less is called for. The earth cries out to us. And God, the Lord of Life, calls us to embrace a new culture: a culture of care – for the earth and for each other, especially the poor, the invisible and those left behind”   

https://dublindiocese.ie/wpcontent/uploads/2021/08/Archbishop-Farrell-Pastoral-Letter-The-Cry-of-the-Earth.pdf

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

No matter how small or insignificant your actions may seem, they matter. 

  1. A TV on standby is still using a lot of electricity. Switching that little ‘standby’ light from green to red doesn’t actually do you, or the planet, much good – it is still costing you money & wasting energy 

  2. Save the world while brushing your teeth!

Most people leave the tap running whilst brushing their teeth. This wastes up to 9 litres of water a minute or 26,000 litres of water per family, per year.

Awareness is the first step.  Aware of what we are doing, how we dispose of the waste that we are responsible for accumulating, aware of how much we buy and what we buy.  These are political decisions we make every day.  The consumer holds huge power for change

 

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

The global message of the encyclical Laudato si' continues to have a profound impact around the world, calling on everyone to be caretakers of our common home through a dialogue that involves all people. Released six years ago, the encyclical has generated discussion and concrete action from people of all faiths and none throughout the world.

The momentum generated has given rise to surprising initiatives creating dialogue over our planet, the role of humanity, and promoting awareness over the need to respect ecosystems and biodiversity. A selection of these reflections and feedback from individuals and communities are brought together in the book “Laudato si' Reader. An Alliance of Care for Our Common Home" The book shares reflections in a short collective format as a testament of how the Holy Father’s ideas have been disseminated advocated and practiced in various settings. The authors are a mixture of academics and practitioners, scientists and youth, organisations and economists, farmers and indigenous peoples, parents and politicians, Christians and interreligious communities.

The printed format will be available from Liberia Editrice Vaticana at www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

Having a sense that everything is finite and limited is so important. Appreciating this transforms how we engage with Creation and all living beings. This is at the heart of the ecological conversion that Pope Francis speaks so much about in Laudato Si. It is also at the heart of the campaign that Westport Eco Congregation is engaged with at the present time and during the coming months – to eradicate single use plastic bottles from our town and county. We are delighted to report that many sports clubs and schools are collaborating with us, in this endeavour. We invite you to become an active participant, by choosing not to buy plastic bottles - surely a timely suggestion as one of your New Year resolutions!                                                                                     

Embracing small actions can have a ripple effect across our different communities. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed so that ‘all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation’

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

“We must return to the spiritual values that are the foundation of life. We must love and respect all living things, have compassion for the poor and the sick, respect and understanding for women and female life on this earth who bear the sacred gift of life” —

Indigenous delegates to the Global Forum on Environment, 1990

Care of Creation Westport Eco Congregation:

 “For the sake of younger generations and their future, we must choose to eat, travel, spend, invest and live differently, thinking not only of immediate interest and gains but also of future benefits," (Pope Francis and other Christian leaders in a recent message to the world in the context of Climate Change and Cop26)

Advent/Christmas offers us many opportunities to consider the choices we make.  For example: Gifts, and Wrapping:  If you do need to purchase gifts, shop local rather than on line. Whether made by yourself or a local artisan, handmade items will bring a simple, beautiful energy into your home.

When wrapping any gifts there is no need to use the rolls of wrapping paper or glossy, metallic and foil gift wrap. Instead, use newspaper or old posters. They look fabulous with red wool tied around them. In fact, it could become a family trend…Did you know?  that most wrapping paper is non recyclable?

You can avoid the waste by: swap tape for twine or washi tape: turn a potato crisp packet inside out: jazz up an old pillowcase or a scarf you don’t use: repurpose kids’ artwork or glam up some newspaper – Get Creative!

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

TIPS FOR A GREENER CHRISTMAS – ECO CONGREGATION

As we continue our Advent journey, let us think about the impact that our choices and options are making on our planet: when buying gently let go of purchasing more “stuff” when possible. 

Make and do things: Ideas such as knitting hat or scarf, making Christmas food treats, or for skilled to such creations as yule logs and wreaths with local hedgerow greens, paint Christmas cards with children and make Christmas decorations with them with such items as popcorn or old paper. Pick sticks during walks for fires. Organise a pot luck dinner rather than eating out. For an older person living alone make a date to come and do tasks on their list in the home.

Consider Buying Locally - the positive impact of which is far reaching. Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish says “For every €50 someone spends on an Irish product, it’s worth €250 to the economy in the local community: so not only does it make economic sense supporting local employment, it’s also got a lower carbon footprint and is sustainable.”                                                                                                        This year, the organisation has set up an online portal called guaranteedirishgifts.ie to make things easier for consumers to find Irish items. their main goal is to provide inspiration and keep local communities alive.

Westport Eco Congregation Care of Creation

TIPS FOR A GREENER CHRISTMAS – ECO CONGREGATION

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.

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

A JOINT MESSAGE FOR THE PROTECTION 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. 

Amen.

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 

ECO CONGREGATION

 

 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

bottom of page