Tuesday, 9 February 2010

From the pulpit

I delivered three homilies this weekend – Saturday night Mass and two Sunday morning – on climate change, and priests and parishioners alike seemed pleased with them.

I was there because Catholic leaders are donating some of their still-considerable weight to the fight against climate change. Pope Benedict gave an address on the environment on New Year’s Day, and late last year the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference released a statement called “The Cry of the Earth” calling for each parish to host speakers on climate change.

Our group, FADA, have had a strong relationship to local churches since we formed four years ago -- our members have spoken during Masses, addressed church groups and Catholic schools, and written articles on the Long Emergency for the church bulletins. We even have a nun among our core members, and it was she, Sister Maureen, who approached the churches. While another FADA member spoke at another church nearby, I spoke in in Ballymaney, at the church of Chill Mhuire (pronounced Kill Weera – no, seriously).

I had to try to cram into seven minutes a course in climatology, a response to climate sceptics, examples of how we can cut our usage, and some inspirational words at the end – but in the end it was as good as it would get, and many in the congregation spoke approvingly on the way out. We passed out fliers for more information, and perhaps we can draw more people into our various projects – gardens, elder interviews, food-sharing clubs and so on.

The longer I work at this, the more I see the advantages of working through existing institutions. When we simply advertise a talk on, say, climate change, perhaps five people show up. When we have spoken to schools, clubs or churches, we reach hundreds of people at once.

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