Pope Francis saves Belconnen parish money
This year is the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ letter On Care for Our Common Home. The universal Church in Rome has declared a special jubilee year ending 24 May 2021 to raise awareness of Laudato Si and help implement its teachings.
The Laudato Si group at St Matthews and St Vincent de Paul Parish (Belconnen South) is inspired by the Pope’s encyclical locally. With the Parish Finance Council, they recently installed a 20kW solar power system at the Parish Centre. Not only is this reducing parish CO2 greenhouse gas emission, but also it is saving the parish a good deal of money.
The parish already had a 6kW solar system at Page Presbytery, providing about 16% of Parish power needs. With an ACT government ActSmart rebate and a parishioner each chipping in $5000, the parish was able to invest some savings to get better returns. Now over 60% of parish electricity needs is met from renewable solar on site.
On Tuesday 1 September, Christian churches will together celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and will observe the Season of Creation for the 5 weeks to 4 October – the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (the patron saint of ecological conversion). Pope Francis invites all Catholics to take part saying “This is the season for letting our prayer be inspired anew by closeness to nature.”
The Belconnen South Laudato Si group sees the encyclical as an opportunity for motivating Christian responses to global crises in areas such as climate, cross-species epidemics, biodiversity loss, water supply and pollution. They are reaching out to other parishes, particularly those still affected by drought and the bushfires.
Further they see that Pope Francis’ “gospel of Creation” also has potential for conveying Church mission and effective Church renewal.
The Plenary Council discernment papers are also pointing to Laudato Si as the way of the Church into the future.
“How inseparable is the bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace” (Pope Francis Laudato Si paragraph 10)
“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.” (Pope Francis Laudato Si paragraph 13).