Gardiner Street Inner City Parish gets a Spring Clean!

Gardiner Street Clean UpIn Laudato Si’, Pope Francis urges communities everywhere to undergo what he calls an ecological conversion. He says that “the ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion....” [2015, para. 219]

Gardiner St., a Jesuit parish located in Dublin 1, is actively answering this call by placing care for our common home at the heart of parish activities. The experience of community can generate creative ideas for improving neighbourhoods. On Sunday, April 23rd, a small but eager group of parishioners came together, as part of National Spring Clean Month, for a clean-up of the streets within the parish. The clean-up event was also part of parish efforts towards becoming an official eco-parish within Eco-Congregation Ireland.

Unfortunately, in recent times, this part of the city has been identified as a litter black spot. Over fifteen bags of rubbish were collected by parishioners, mostly comprising glass bottles, cans and tins, paper, and general household waste. Discarded cigarette butts were also a problem. After the street-clean, everyone gathered in the Pope Francis Hall in Gardiner Street church for chat and much deserved refreshments.

Later that day, Sr. Catherine Brennan of Eco-Congregation Ireland gave an inspiring address to the congregation at the Sunday evening Gospel mass. She emphasised why the work of Eco-Congregation Ireland is so crucial in responding to the significant environmental decline our world is currently experiencing.

She was joined by Orla Davin Carroll, a member of Balally Eco-Congregation, who motivated everyone with her account of the various initiatives taking place in their award-winning parish. These include, for example, organising special liturgies, encouraging environmental responsibility among parishioners by providing information and tips, hosting events, and putting solar panels in place. In 2015, the parish hosted a two-day conference to coincide with the publication of Laudato Si’.

This is the second eco-themed event hosted in the parish. Last year, Catherine Devitt, environmental justice officer with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice facilitated a talk on the theme of Mercy and the Environment. The parish has also moved to using fair-trade items, recycling actively, and incorporating care for the Earth into parish liturgy.  In March, sunflower seeds were distributed to the congregation. Gardiner St. is now looking forward towards other initiatives to help deepen its eco-parish commitment. More information can be found at: https://gardinerstparish.ie/about/eco-parish/