Awards! Awards! The Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne Family of Parishes, Cork Receives ECI Award!

At the Palm Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday, April 9th, the Cathedral Family of Parishes Climate Justice Group celebrated the reception of the Eco-Congregation Ireland Award from Bishop Fintan.  The Climate Justice Group was established by the Parish Assembly to help better understand the many issues and challenges raised by Pope Francis in his letter Laudato Si. The Eco Award was given to the group in recognition of the impressive work done by them over the past four years since they were established in 2018.

Presenting the award, Bishop Fintan congratulated the team in the Cathedral and acknowledged the work done in all areas, environmental, spiritual, practical, community and global. Sr. Catherine Brennan, Catholic Representative on the ECI Committee, praised the good work of the group and singled out the renewable energy work in the churches as one of the best in the country and a model for all parishes.

In terms of practical work done in the use of sustainable energy in historic buildings, the Cathedral Family of Parishes is indeed a leader in this country. The Cathedral building itself, which dates from 1808, is the first Cathedral in the country to have so many energy upgrades installed. The work is ongoing since 2016 when the Cathedral Church began installing sustainable energy measures, which include an LED lighting upgrade, photovoltaic panels, an air-to-air heat pump, including heaters both front and back of the building, and attic insulation. Two temperature & humidity sensors have been installed. These are placed in the seating area of the Cathedral, and help to make the heating as efficient as possible. Conscious of the need to use energy wisely an energy monitoring system called Wattrics is also installed which monitors the use of electricity in different areas of the Cathedral. There are two Electric Car chargers available for use in the Cathedral car park.

Similar upgrades have been installed in Blackpool Church, along with the heat pump, LED lighting and attic insulation. Led lighting is also installed in St Oliver’s & St Brendan’s. The Administrator and Parish Priest of the Cathedral Canon John O Donovan has been involved in this work since the start and is also a member of the Climate Justice Group.

The ceremony was attended by Eileen and Frank Dorr who facilitated the development of the group, Eco-Congregation groups from the city and county, Rev Andrew Orr, chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland and Jer O Sullivan and members of St. Anne’s Shandon ECI.

The presentation was followed by the planting of a native Irish Rowan tree in the grounds of the Cathedral to mark the occasion. 

The presentation plaque was made at the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh. The project takes an innovative approach to creating community and providing sanctuary and support to participants, many of whom are the most vulnerable of their citizens. They  learn skills which enable them to develop their  full potential and move away  from cycles of failure. The wood is sourced from recycled church seats and kneelers throughout Scotland. It carries the prayer of worshippers for possibly hundreds of years and will continue to carry the prayer of the people of this cathedral in Cork for years to come.