The Parish SS Mary & Michael in Settle celebrated the Season of Creation at Masses last weekend. Parishioner and Member of our Diocesan Justice & Peace Climate Action Group, Dr Paul Kelly, has sent this report on just how much laity and clergy can achieve by working together to Care for and Celebrate ALL of God’s Creation!
Fr Frank Smith, Parish Priest, invited parishioners to place symbols of creation before the altar, saying creation doesn’t just include the natural environment but everything that is, whether that is physical, vegetable, animal, human, social, cultural, and, yes, even political! The display included not only flowers fruit and vegetables but a Hornby train set, wine, a fossil limestone vase, hammer and saw, Lego, books and keys. The non-perishables will remain until the end of the Season of Creation on 4 October.
Fr Frank preached that our stewardship of creation is more than just saving the natural world and recycling; it means helping look after and continuing to build the Kingdom of God on earth – a place for us all to flourish. In doing we are co-creators; we participate in God’s work. This process never stops. It is a responsibility of all of us. It’s what sharing the Good News is at least partly about.
He reminded the parish of some of the things already done together to increase our own understanding of what creation is all about, to share that understanding with each other and the wider community, and, most importantly, to put our own house in order, which we have being doing through …:
* refurbishing the buildings to be much more energy efficient, including good insulation and solar panel;
* work with the poor and marginalised groups (SVP, foodbank);
* being major players successfully settling a Syrian war refugee family in Settle;
* gaining the CAFOD LiveSimply Award;
* talks on Laudato Si;
* ecumenical liturgies on Creation;
* a public showing of Pope Francis’ film The Letter; and
* an annual blessing of animals.
… not to mention all those quiet, unobtrusive, and vitally important ways in which we all, in different ways, at different times, have been witnesses to the Gospel.
Saying all this is cause for celebration, but we now need to widen and deepen our activities. Fr Frank encouraged everyone to sign up for a parish meeting later this month (7pm on 28 September) to try to discern together where we go next; to work out what we might do together as a parish.
…and this ‘Harvest Festival with a Difference’ represents just some of the prayerful and practical ways in which any parish can Care for Creation by hearing the Cry of the Poor and of the Earth!