Earlier this month, Our Lady and St Edmund parish in Abingdon began their exciting journey to achieve the livesimply award by holding a special launch Mass.
Parishioner and livesimply Coordinator, Steve Stevens told us,
“In our offertory procession, as well as bread and wine, we offered symbols of our appreciation of God’s wonderful world, and our intention to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with people in poverty – as a parish, and as individuals.”
“Firstly we offered water which is essential to life and we gave thanks for the plentiful water we all enjoy. We also promised to pray for and help those whose lands and lives are blighted by water problems – through drought, floods, rising sea levels, or deprivation of water in war.
“Next we offered a solar panel, representing all our energy sources. We expressed our thankfulness for the warmth and power of the sun, for electricity, and gas and coal. We promised to use our resources not greedily but wisely, and be good stewards for the future of our world.
“We then brought fairly traded food and donations to the Abingdon Foodbank to the altar and prayed for all farmers who produce our daily food both here at home and throughout the world. We prayed that we would all pay a fair price for what we consume so that the producers of our food are not exploited and get a fair reward for their labour. We promised to share our good fortune with those in less favourable circumstances, and waste less of the goodness that God has provided for us.
“Lastly, we offered our CAFOD Harvest Fast Day envelopes, containing the money we had saved by living more simply on Fast Day, in order to help more families across the world produce enough food to feed themselves in harsh climatic conditions. All of this was offered to the Lord, the God of all Creation.”
As part of the livesimply project, parishioners have also created a wild flower meadow next to the church and this year they have recorded 14 species of flowering plants including a Pyramidal Orchid and many different types of bees and butterflies.
Steve told us,
“With the help of the livesimply award we all hope, over the next twelve months, to deepen our commitment as a parish and as individuals to live more simply – putting our faith into action in the light of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
“To help us all as a parish to take stock of what we are already doing on this, we asked each parishioner to fill out a simple questionnaire and we’ve already received 120 back from families in the parish. These will be analysed and used to help us track our progress throughout the year.
“We also hope that groups within the parish will also find their own ways of helping in this whether that is in reducing energy consumption, recycling or in any of the other ways that we can show our care and concern for God’s creation. And we invited people to share any experience they might have in this area and join a small livesimply parish team.
“By this time next year, around the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, we hope to look back on a year in which we have shown in nine clear ways how our parish has responded to Pope Francis` call – so right now we need everyone’s ideas, thoughts and actions!”
Well done to Our Lady and St Edmund’s for organising this launch and for doing so much to really reach out and include everyone in the community in this work. We look forward to hearing about your progress and celebrating with you next year when you have achieved your award!
Find out what the livesimply award means to three communities by watching our short film below: