March 18, 2014

Soup and Substance Lenten Programme (2): Let’s Live Lent!

On Wednesday 12 March 2014 the second Mercy International Soup and Substance Lenten Lunchtime talks was held. 'Fostering Environmental Awareness/ Action in the Community’ was the topic for this week’s talk, presented by Catherine Brennan, SSL, chairperson of Eco Congregations Ireland.

 

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Sr Catherine is one of the founding members of  Eco Congregation Ireland which is an inter-denominational project, operating under the auspices of the Church and Society Forum – a standing committee of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting. The vision of the Eco-Congregation is to see churches of all denominations throughout Ireland celebrate the gift of God’s creation, recognise the interdependence of all creation, and care for it in their life and mission and through member’s personal lifestyles. It aims therefore to encourage churches to re-discover the connection between the environment and Christian faith.

Rev. Patrick Hume S.J. welcomed Sr Catherine to Soup & Substance and began the session with a prayer

'God of the universe, we thank you for your many gifts
For the beauty of creation and it’s rich and varied fruits
For clean water and fresh air
For food and shelter, animals and plants
Forgive us for the times we have taken the earth’s resources for granted
And wasted what you have given us
Transform our hearts and minds,
So that we would learn to care and share
To touch the earth with gentleness and with love
Respecting all living things
We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste, our greed and indifference
We pray that the day would come when everyone has enough food and clean water
Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species,
And help us to willingly share your gifts, today and always
Amen'

Sr Catherine began her presentation by explaining the beginnings of Eco Congregation Ireland. She explained that although the programme is designed for faith organisations, in reality it is applicable to many diverse groups. This is because at its centre is the need to recognise the impact of humans on the planet and the steps we must take collectively to ensure that it is not harmed further.

Outlining the steps that Eco-Congregation feels the Church needs to take to adopt an eco approach Sr Catherine explained the support her organisation offers to individuals and faith communities. Sr Catherine spoke of the personal responses that individuals must take and the modules of the Eco Congregation programme. While undertaking an eco project may seem, for many, an arduous task, there are in fact numerous resources available through the Eco Congregation website, making it rather straightforward.

Sr Catherine highlighted the work of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) group in Inchicore, South West Dublin, who have been working hard on eco matters since 2008, and received an Eco-Congregation Ireland award in September 2012.

During her presentation, Sr Catherine also highlighted several authors whose writings are helpful to learn more about ecological issues, including Sallie McFague, Elizabeth Johnson and Mark Wallace.

Sr Catherine closed her presentation by reading an excerpt from Darwin & the God of Love by Elizabeth A Johnson.

Join Mercy International Association on 19 March 2014 for the third Soup & Substance Lenten Talk: Debts Door – A Global Justice Perspective on the Debt Crisis with Nessa Ní Chasaide.

Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm – Assistant Director, Mercy Global Action

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