† CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS: On the weekend before the October 4th Feast of St. Francis, Deacon John McDermott led a liturgy for the blessing of animals in the garden of Our Lady of Lourdes. A variety of dogs and one cat attended with their owners, some of whom also brought mementoes of pet friends who are no longer with us. At the end of each Mass that weekend, members of the Environmental Ministry committee handed out “Kid’s Bags” to all those who could not attend the blessing ceremony and to families who had no pets! Parents were encouraged to read the note inside the bag to their children, explaining about St. Francis’s love for animals and encouraging use of paper instead of plastic, and a St. Francis prayer card. The bag also contained a small pretend pet (stuffed animal toy).
† LEARNING ABOUT RECYCLING: A team of 7 Environmental Ministry committee members took over clean-up at our Cluster’s Fall Harvest Picnic on September 10, 2017. Their mission was to demonstrate the practice of reusing, composting, and recycling; discuss how recycling works in Monroe County; and leave the picnic site with as little waste as possible for the landfill. The result was 10 1-gallon bins of compostable garbage, 160 sets of plastic utensils washed and returned to St. Anne, and 1 recycling bin with recyclable packaging, paper table covers, and cold beverage cups. Two large posters were prepared, explaining Monroe County’s recycling process. They were posted, with a volunteer to explain our efforts.
† MISSION STATEMENT DRAFTED: Our Cluster’s new Environmental Ministry committee reviewed mission statements from other faith groups committed to the environment, consideration of our objectives and audience, and initial thoughts on how we might go about our work. The result was this working draft of our mission statement:
The Church recognizes that the web of life and the promotion of human dignity require the protection and care of God’s creation. As stewards, we strive to inspire our Catholic faith community to pray, act, and advocate for our earth and for future generations.
† NEW CLUSTER COMMITTEE NAMED: The Cluster environmental steering group engaged in much discussion and research into committees with a Care for the Earth focus in other parishes in our area and decided to adopt this straight-forward name for our new ministry –– ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY
† SPEAKER SHARES MINISTRY STRATEGIES: On April 25, 2017, Dr. Gerry Gacioch, Climate Ambassador from the American Catholic Bishops, met with parishioners of both parishes to discuss why it is important for our Cluster to form a Care for the Earth Committee, with practical tips on how to go about an environmental ministry.
YOU are called to care for creation: Pope Francis tells us it is our responsibility as citizens and as followers of Christ to act on the “moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision.” 
MINISTRY BACKGROUND: Over the course of four Thursday evenings in January 2017, a group of about 20 individuals from our Cluster and neighboring parishes joined with the Social Ministry Committee to consider the social justice issue of Care for the Earth.
Under the guidance of presenter Mary Sullivan, Sister of Mercy, the group learned the background, context, and implications of Laudato Sí, Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, climate change, and human ecology.
After readings, prayer, discussion, and reflection, the Laudato Sí study group generated potential action steps for individuals, families, and the community. These included a focus on energy usage within the Cluster. Read about some common-sense measures to reduce our carbon footprint by clicking here.
Volunteers have now formed a Steering Committee on the Care of the Earth
There will be many roles in this new group. Roles might include facilitator, communications point person, and coordinator of projects. Activities will emerge through committee readings, discussion, and recommendations from similar groups in neighboring parishes, as well as many helpful websites such as The Catholic Climate Covenant. Everyone will be welcome to contribute ideas and join in wherever and whenever their interests take them.
Meetings are now being scheduled — watch the Bulletin for announcements. All are welcome! Consider helping this new ministry as we begin to formulate plans. No special skills necessary! Just a desire to help CARE FOR THE EARTH !
Check out our GREEN CORNER for ideas on what you can do at home.
For more information about this new Cluster initiative, contact Jean Shafer at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about social ministry, or about the Social Ministry Committee, call the Cluster office and leave a message for the committee chairperson, Mary Lisa Sisson. Call: 473-9656