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Westport Eco-Congregation Receives National Award

The congregations of St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity Parishes, with Westport Eco-Congregation were delighted to receive the National Eco-Congregation Award on Sunday April 22nd 2018 - (International Earth Day).

L-R: Kathleen Friel,
Laura Dixon with her beautiful baby Cliara,
Brid McAuley, Mary Manning,
Kathleen Murphy, Catherine Brennan

Inspired and motivated by the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ the Eco Committee, with the assistance of the schools and many other community groups commenced this journey towards Care for Creation. In this publication the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental and global warming and calls all people of the world to take "swift and unified global action”. In the Westport area the focus and vision was to invite the local community to adopt an eco-approach to worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

Note: My own participation and involvement with this committee evolved directly from our cluster’s engagement with MIRP. One of our agreed actions for the way forward at that time was “We will continue to support the local Eco Congregation Committee in our parish……. we will share with this committee and others, some of the excellent resources we receive from MIA”

On the day of the presentation, Rev. Val Rogers welcomed the award at the 11:30 a.m. service in Holy Trinity Church. Fr. Patrick Burke (RIP) who was a member of the eco committee, celebrated the Eucharist at 12 Noon in St. Mary’s Church, and welcomed the award during the celebration there. He gave a wonderful homily capturing the heart of ‘Laudato Si’ and the urgency of “wakening up to our responsibilities to Care for our fragile and beautiful planet”.

Guest of honour Sr. Catherine Brennan of “Eco–Congregation Ireland” presented the award. In her speech she acknowledged the great work of the Eco Congregation Committee “they are a voice at this critical time, calling us all to sustain and renew our planet”. In her closing comments she quoted Pope Francis "God always forgives, people sometimes forgive, but nature never forgives..."

Members of Westport Eco-Congregation being presented the national award in Holy Trinity church. L-R Caroline Goucher, Mary Manning, Kathleen Friel, Kathleen Murphy, Sr. Catherine Brennan of Eco-Congregation Ireland, Brid McAuley, Kevin Barrett and Rev.Val Rodgers

Team effort - Westport Eco-Congregation
and Westport Tidy Towns at
SUPERVALU Westport O'Connor's
for the Day of Action on Supermarket Packaging

A message of thanks was extended to Melissa Griffith of “The Green Sod” and to Sharon Cameron from the “Environmental Department” of Mayo County Council - who were the adjudicators of the ‘award application process’. They commended Westport Eco Congregation on the work they did in raising awareness about “Care for our Common Home” by - promoting Zero Waste; reducing Plastic in Supermarkets; encouraging the raising of awareness of our ‘common home’ during liturgical celebrations; promoting the new recycling legislation; encouraging cycling and walking when possible; organising “Earth Hour” during 2016, 2017 and 2018, and engaging the expertise of others e.g. Professor John Sweeney and Fr. Sean Mc Donagh, to give workshops in our parish over the past two years.

Westport is the first parish in the west to achieve this award. The plaque itself was made from recycled church pews by the “Grassmarket Community Project” in Scotland. These plaques will be displayed in both churches.
Catherine concluded with the following quotation from the Sufi mystic (Ibn al’Arabi)
"God-Consciousness sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal…. and awakens in homo-sapiens” and called us all to answer the vocation to continue to care for creation.

Members from both churches gathered in Carrowbeg House afterwards for refreshments and the cake cutting. The special cake was made and sponsored by O’Connor’s Supermarket.


Group: Westport Eco-Congregation
Tel: 086 8745314
Event info:

Messages for Westport Eco-Congregation to: Kathleen Friel rsm