Parishes may wish to include Sunday bulletin entries to encourage a deeper understanding of our church’s social teachings concerning environmental stewardship and to provide practical information on actions that show care for God’s creation.
Fruit of the Earth and Work of Human Hands
In 1989 the Ontario Catholic Bishops published a document about the agricultural community entitled “The People and the Land”. Now, 25 years later, our Ontario Bishops have brought forward an early 21st century look at Ontario’s farming issues in a reflection entitled “Fruit of the Earth and Work of Human Hands
”. This document is well worth reading by both urban dwellers and farmers, as it helps us understand the issues at hand and encourages us to make ethical lifestyle choices that promote safe, sustainable Ontario agriculture. This document, plus a Facilitator’s Workshop Guide are available on the Recent News section of the Ontario Bishops’ website
. Parish bulletin announcements to inform parishioners of different parts of this reflection are as follows:
In their Lent 2014 document, Fruit of the Earth and Work of Human Hands
, our Ontario Bishops state that there is urgency for all of us “to bear with farmers the cost of food security and environmental stewardship so that our land of milk and honey will be able to continue to sustain the lives of future generations.” We can help through consistent support of “buy local” initiatives and by encouraging the Ontario government to expand its Foodland Ontario
campaign to include meat producers. Food security is enhanced when we support our local farmers and challenge the purchasing policies of large grocery chains that dominate our system. As Pope Emeritus Benedict noted, “It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act.”
For free use in your parish bulletin
Please feel free to include or adapt all entries below for use in your parish or organization:
Building a New Culture: Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment
The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has prepared a series of parish bulletin inserts to inform our Catholic population of eight central themes found in Church teaching on the environment. Based on the pastoral letter, Building a New Culture: Central Themes in Recent Church Teaching on the Environment, parishes are encouraged to include the excerpts, available on the CCCB website for their parish bulletins. (© Concacan Inc., 2013. All rights reserved)
Saint brother André - Voluntary simplicity
Saint Brother André is a model of authentic Christian life. He lived simply and humbly. He saw the face of Christ in everyone he met – the poor, the suffering and the desperate. Following St. Brother André’s example, we too may live a life of voluntary simplicity, responsive to the needs of others over our possessions. We may focus less on what we have, and more on who we are – Christians who care for our neighbour and for future generations. Let us respond to God’s call to be stewards of creation through lifestyles that reflect simplicity and humility. As St. Brother André once said, “It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures."
Environmental Stewardship – World Day of Peace
In his 2014 World Day of Peace Message: Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace
, Pope Francis builds on Benedict XVI’s call for responsible stewardship over creation as critical in building peace. Pope Francis states, “So often we are driven by greed and by the arrogance of dominion, possession, manipulation and exploitation; we do not preserve nature; nor do we respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations.” He urges us to open our hearts to those affected by poverty, hunger, the devastation of nature, pollution, human exploitation, and injustice. We build peace through “conversion of heart”.
Environmental stewardship: Stop, think, and then act
In both his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate and in his 2010 World Day of Peace Message Pope Benedict reflects on his statement that “every economic decision has a moral consequence”. How does such a statement apply to our buying habits? Do we stop to think about the consequences of each decision that we make regarding our purchases? For example, when purchasing paper products as basic as bathroom tissue or photocopy paper, do we consider the source of the paper and the impact of our choice on the environment? Purchasing paper products from recycled sources saves trees and contributes to the economy of the recycling industry. Remember, before making a purchase, Stop – Think – and then Act.
Environmental stewardship: lifetyles
We are bombarded all day long with advertising on the radio, television, print media, internet, billboards, corporate logos on hockey rinks and stadiums, junk mail, product placement in movies, and more. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI invited us to review seriously the prevalent life-style of consumerism that harms the environment. He reminds us of Pope John Paul II’s call for our adoption of new life-styles “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments.” Suggestion: Adopt a lifestyle that avoids harmful consumerism, focuses on the essential, contributes to the common good and respects future generations.
Environmental Stewardship – Purchasing Eggs
Did you know that in Canada over 90% of egg-producing hens live together in small “battery cages” in windowless barns? They are de-beaked and cannot engage in natural behaviours due to crammed space. The result is chronic stress. Battery cages are prohibited in many nations as it is seen as a highly inhumane practice. Consider supporting humane practices in the egg industry by purchasing eggs labeled “Free-run eggs”, “Free-range eggs”, or certified “Organic eggs”. Become aware of the consequences of our food choices and act accordingly!
Additional resource for parish bulletin entries
Holy Cross parish in the Ottawa Archdiocese has had weekly parish bulletin entries for the Environmental stewardship covering many topics and themes for the past four years. Each bulletin may be found on the Holy Cross parish website
. Entries on the Holy Cross website may be used or adapted for use by other parishes.