Green Congregation Spotlight

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Hampton, VA

“As a people of faith, we see life as a gift and the world as the expression of the creator who declared all things Good. Shaped by the understanding that God calls all to participate in the life and gift of creation we understand we also have a responsibility to care for the blessings of creation. As Catholics, this was clearly articulated many years ago when Pope John Paul II stated on Jan.1, 1990: 

‘…there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and that the human person, endowed with the capacity to choose freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations. I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue.

We are part of creation and share in the integral workings of all of life. We are neither above creation nor apart from it. To care for creation is to promote life and wholeness. No part of creation, including human life, exists in isolation; therefore, to care for creation is to foster greater interconnectedness and wellbeing for all. Caring flows from valuing and appreciating. 

At Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, we wanted to ‘do our part’ to care for creation. We chose to install solar panels and were able to have 100% of our electrical energy from solar power. While it was true there was a financial saving for the church, it wasn’t the only reason to move to solar. We wanted to make this the first step in actively becoming a partner with others in caring for our common home. The second year we partnered with farmers in Kenya to plant over 5,000 trees in a carbon offset program. This year we are supporting the Navajo Nation with filters to provide clean drinking water. These projects are defined and run by the local communities. 

The news about climate change can be overwhelming. The feelings of helplessness can be our response. We are not a large church. But in faith and love, we are not helpless. We see the good and act on that good in a way that fits us as a community, in terms of our talent and resources. In the Gospel of Luke, the question is raised who is my neighbor and the answer comes back, the one who treated him (the suffering one) with mercy. Our world is suffering. In love and determination let us bring healing and hope. “

Fr. John Grace, Pastor
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

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