The ECI Climate Justice Candle visited the Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Parishes of Tashinny and Carrickredmond-Abbeyshrule, Co Longford on June 17-24 2017. Carmel Nally, one of the parishioners sent us this report:
Mindful of ECI’s ethos of raising/deepening awareness of the huge challenge of Climate Justice, and the imperative on all of us, individuals and communities, to play our part by taking action at home and by joining in Global Climate Initiatives, a GO TELL EVERYONE type of communication took place. In the weeks prior to the hosting of the Climate Justice Candle, a circular letter incorporating a brief overview of ECI’s initiative (taken from www.ecocongregationieland.ie) announcing the visit of the candle, from June 17-24, 2017, was sent to the Parish Pastoral Council, Select Vestry, two Primary Schools, five Tidy Towns Committees, The Longford Leader, Shannonside-Northern Sound Radio, Local Representatives and TDs. The letter drew special attention to the Ecumenical Prayer Service to take place on Wednesday, June 21 at 8pm in Holy Trinity Church, Tashinny. It encouraged people to take part in the week’s events. The Longford Leader carried relevant parts of the letter as a news item highlighted by a picture of the local village and harbour the first week, and Holy Trinity Church the second week. The local notes correspondent updated it each week for the paper’s local notes. The letter was late for promotion on Local Radio’s Sunday Morning programme, SIDE BY SIDE, but was included in the community announcements multiple times daily (without charge).
Arising from the letter, Father Ėamon O’Connor, co-presenter of SIDE BY SIDE, contacted Rev Andrew requesting an interview on ECI and the Climate Justice Candle initiative. The interview was broadcast on Side by Side the following Sunday morning, repeated that night. We can assume that it was heard throughout the Station’s broadcasting region of Longford, Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan, Monaghan leaving its fruit-bearing to the Holy Spirit.
Attachments to the parish newsletter, and handouts to small Church gatherings (taken from ECI’s website and its links to sites on Climate Justice/How to Stop Climate Chaos/How Green is Ireland? and Creation Time Websites) were provided for a few Sundays prior to the arrival of the candle.
The week of hosing the candle and its accompanying pack began when it was launched at the 7pm Vigil Mass in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Abbeyshrule. Following the lighting of the candle, expressive of the Light of Christ ‘Shining a Light on Climate Justice’, by Father Brian Brennan, Father Charlie Healy, Parish Priest, explained the significance of the candle and its accompanying pack from which he included its prayers for the environment in the Prayer of the Faithful, and integrated its message into his homily and prayers of dismissal. Immediately after Mass, in glorious sunshine and bird song there was an excellent , educational, and enjoyable guided tour of a selection of the many sustainable Tidy Towns’ projects in the village. Proposed future projects were also outlined. A cup of tea, ‘eats’, and a chat in the Rustic Inn rounded off the evening.
Travelling on, the candle and it accompanying pack received a warm welcome, and study, in Tashinny Primary School, a multiple times GREEN School. The children were very interested in learning about Eco-Congregation Ireland, noticing the similarities to Green Schools, and will, no doubt, add its website to their register.
On Wednesday, June 21, 8pm, again a beautiful summer’s evening, an Ecumenical Prayer Service (using ECI’s Service of Prayer and Reflection) led by Ruth Galbraith, Lay Pastor and Lay Reader, and Father Charlie Healy, Parish Priest, was celebrated in Holy Trinity Church, Tashinny. Prayers of praise, thanksgiving and petition, songs of creation, focusing on the environmental ethos and work of our churches, schools, tidy towns’ groups, farming, other organisations, and individuals, were raised ‘in full voice’ to our Creator. Afterwards we moved to nearby Saint Shinneach’s Hall for a cuppa, homemade goodies, and a chat.
AN ENVIRONMENTAL CHECK-UP FOR YOUR CHURCH and FUNDING were copied from ECI’s website and pasted on to the inside back page of the Order of Service Pamphlet; ECO-CONGREGATION SAYS… was also copied from its website and pasted on to the back cover. The Order of Service pamphlet included a coloured insert of ECO-TIPS and WEBSITES copied and pasted from ECI’s website. Reference to funding prompted the placing of an unattended bucket – marked voluntary donations for Eco-Congregation Ireland – at the door of the church.
The Candle and its accompanying pack went on to Colehill Primary School, also multiple times GREEN, for the next two days coinciding with the end of year Mass for pupils, families, and staff. The pupils in 6th class prepared readings, prayers, commentary, and reflection. The theme of the bidding prayers was HOW WE CAN PRESERVE OUR ENVIRONMENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. The hosting of the candle and use of its accompanying pack gave the pupils and adults a raised awareness of the beauty of our natural world and how they can contribute to protecting our environment.
Finally, the Climate Justice Candle was in the Sacred Heart Church, Carrickedmond, on Saturday and Sunday. The prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for Creation were included in the Mass each day. Father Charlie integrated its message into his homily and prayers of dismissal.
The Candle and its pack continued its travels to the next venue.
We pray that the CJC’s visit from place to place with its prayers and reflections has heightened the awareness of people in this ‘neck of the woods’ as to the urgent challenge of CLIMATE JUSTICE, and also the urgent need of each one’s prayer and action “to take an eco-friendly approach to church life (and in our personal life – practically, spiritually, and by connecting with your local community and with people in developing countries already impacted by climate change” (ECI). Lord, help us. “… Creator God, teach us to discover the worth of each thing…recognise that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light…”