The award, a wooden plaque made from a recycled church pew with the words ‘Caring for God’s Creation’, was presented to Bishop Bill Murphy on Sunday the 20th of May 2012, at St Brendan’s College Killarney by Sr Catherine Brennan SSL. Sr Catherine is the Chairperson of Eco-Congregation Ireland and its Catholic representative.
Certificates of Excellence were also given to representatives from each of the nineteen parishes. The work carried out included Harvest Masses, discussion groups, traditional butter making, walks, blessing of animals, getting to know the night sky, planting of bulbs and trees etc. A certificate also went to Ardfert Retreat Centre and Milltown Presentation Secondary School, whose Transition Year students produced a clever, thought-provoking and emotive slide-show called ‘The Beauty of Creation’.
Bishop Murphy in his address said that respect for creation and the environment is “an essential part of the Gospel” and reminded us that we are “stewards” of God’s creation. He commended Sr. Regina O’Connell and the Kerry Diocesan Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee, who spearheaded the work for Earth Week, and gave particular credit to Sylvia Thompson for her “trojan work”.
Sr Catherine singled out the people of Killorglin, where the Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes worked together and where an all-night earth vigil, which included twelve teenagers, was held. She quoted American poet Adrienne Rich who exhorted us to “reconstitue the world” and suggested that this is part of “truly being witnesses to Jesus”.
Eco-Congregation Ireland has members from the Church of Ireland, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic Church and the Society of Friends. Its aim is “to encourage churches to celebrate the gift of God’s creation, to recognize the interdependence of all creation, and to care for it in their life and mission and through the members’ personal lifestyles”.
Churches or/and Parishes that received the Certificate of Excellence from Eco- Congregation Ireland in 2012.
Killarney: St. Mary’s Cathedral
Tralee: St. Johns’s Church
Killorglin: St. James’ and St. Michael (Church of Ireland)
Cromane: Mary, Star of the Sea
Dromtariffe- Dromagh: St. John’s Church
Derrinagree: Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Rathmore: St. Joseph’s Church
Gneeveguilla: Church of the Rosary
Listowel: St. Mary’s
Ballymacelligott: Church of the Immaculate Conception
Ballyheigue: St. Mary’s
Ardfert: Retreat Centre
Duagh: St. Brigid’s
Lyreacrompane: Sacred Heart Church
Castleisland: St. Stephen and St. John
Lixnaw: St. Michael’s
Irremore: Our Lady of Fatima and St. Senan
Rathea: Our Lady of the Assumption
Cullen: Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary