The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) group in Inchicore, Dublin, has been working hard on eco matters since 2008. The group consists of members of three Oblate parishes – Mary Immaculate, St Michael’s Parish and Our Lady of the Wayside, Bluebell.
The group has worked hard to raise awareness of the interconnectedness of life. One way it has done this is by holding ‘Earth Days’ where outside speakers were invited to talk to the community eg. Dr Marcus Collier of UCD led a nature appreciation walk and talk during Tree Week.
The group arranged a 10-week gardening course to encourage people to grow their own vegetables. This proved a huge hit with non-churchgoers as well as parishioners. The children in the parish school also have a garden.
The group also runs regular workshops for local community groups as well as other parishes throughout Ireland and even in the UK. These are aimed at encouraging people to lead more eco-friendly lives.
Before Christmas each year ‘Alternative Shopping’ days are held to raise awareness of the needs of the developing world. Products are sourced from Madagascar, central America and the Philippines.
Each year during Fairtrade Fortnight Fairtrade products are sold; the parish school has become involved in this initiative too. The aim is to create awareness of how our actions and choices can affect producers in developing countries.
During Tree Week 2012 the group launched a Tree Gift Card to support an ambitious reforestation project taking place on the Indonesian island of Nusa Kambangan. See http://oblatemissions.ie/jpic/gifttree.
As well as celebrating Creation Time (September 1 to October 4) each year with special liturgy and creation-related hymns, the group also celebrates the dawn chorus, the solstice, dawn on Easter morning and various Celtic feasts, including St Brigid.
A member of the group produced a poster and cards on the theme of Honouring Creation with the aim of inviting people to begin the process of consciously thanking God for Creation and recognising our failings in regard to care of the earth.
A ‘knitting circle’ is held each year during Lent where participants knit hats, scarves, rugs etc for Oxfam.
The JPIC group regularly studies together and has had study days with outside facilitators.
The group’s activities are advertised through the parish bulletin and posters displayed in local churches and shops. The bulletin often features eco tips and reflections.
The Oblate parishes of Inchicore have truly achieved a great deal in raising environmental awareness in their local area .. and further afield. They well deserve the Eco-Congregation Ireland award they received on 9th September 2012!