The parish of Our Lady and St Thomas, Meadowhead, celebrated Creation Season from 1 September till 6 October in response to Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical, Laudato Si.
After starting with special prayers, parishioners, using the Newsletter and a special tree, began to put their faith into action by sharing Top Tips of ways they have found to reduce energy consumption and take better care of Creation. The Children’s Liturgy Group made their own special Lego tree to add to their Creation display.
Then all were encouraged to make a pledge, written on a footprint, to show the new steps they would take, as individuals and as a parish, to work for Net Zero emissions and better care of our common home. They decorated the church with quotes from Laudato Si and beautifully imaginative wreathes depicting the things they love in creation.
The culmination, on the Sunday nearest the Feast of St Francis, started with Harvest Masses. People brought a range of gifts: fruit and vegetables, home-made cakes, jams, bread, art works and poetry, as well as tinned meat and tuna for St Wilfrid’s Centre and groceries for Grace Food Bank. They were joined by the Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, originally from the parish and now the leading bishop on the environment, as well as a Trustee of CAFOD. Though emphasising the critical state of the environment, he had words of hope and encouragement to inspire further action.
The Hall was full of parishioners who stayed after Mass for the shared lunch of produce chosen with a focus on LOAF principles (Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fairtrade). Extra items were sold and the proceeds added to CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day collection. During the meal the Global Healing video was shown to encourage Climate Conversations and the signing of the new CAFOD petition to the Prime Minister asking him to act quickly to ensure: the urgent implementation of policies to achieve net zero emissions by 2045; that UK investments be consistent with keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5° (it is already up 1.1°) and that the UK should show strong leadership internationally. This was followed by the CAFOD Climate Quiz through which much was learned!
Looking ahead, plans are in place to see how the parish can implement the Diocesan Environmental Policy and continue to Live Simply so that others may simply live.
The day ended with the annual Pet Blessing by Fr Gus for a variety of remarkably well-behaved animals, including chickens.