St. Paul, VA
Educating congregants about the connection between faith, justice, and ecology can be challenging, especially in a culture of consumerism. But this challenge is at the heart of the mission of the Ecological Working Group of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond (EWG), which has developed numerous resources and educational opportunities, including “Habits of Creation,” a 1-day retreat and workshop. This resource seeks to provide a fun, hands-on workshop that explores the habitual nature of eco-justice problems and identifies “creative” responses locally and globally.
EWG built the workshops in part upon the foundation laid in Pope John Paul II’s New Year’s Address from 1990, which states: “Modern society will find no solution to the ecological problem unless it takes a serious look at its life-style. In many parts of the world, society is given to instant gratification and consumerism while remaining indifferent to the damage which these cause. It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available resources, while masses of people are living at conditions of misery at the very lowest level of subsistence.” The Habits workshops invite participants to:
- learn about basic ecological principles,
- discuss real life stories of poverty and ecological problems,
- examine scriptural roots of ecological responsibility, and
- learn and share practical skills that build community and foster creativity.
The Ecological Working Group of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond was formed in 1990 to help Catholics and all people of faith integrate ecological values and concerns into their congregations and daily lives. They have undertaken additional efforts to raise awareness such as mailing a brochure in advance of Christmas to parishes, religious educators, and justice and peace ministers to facilitate faithful reflections on the connection of the Earth, simplicity, and the season in the hype of more commercialized pressures of Christmas. A second brochure, Living in Harmony, has been mailed around Earth Day, along with an Ecological Checklist for Parishes to help parishes measure their care for creation.
Further, EWG has created a Confirmation and Creation lesson for teachers, initiated a St. Francis Ecological Award to be given yearly, builds membership in the Ecological Network of Sowers of Justice, and maintains an e-mail list to keep members informed of important ecological issues.
P.O. Box 882
Wytheville, VA 26382
- EWG informational brochure
- Habits of Creation facilitator’s handbook (would need permission to put online)
- “Celebrating Christmas as if the Earth were really the place where Word became Flesh” – Christmas Brochure
- Letter from Thomas Berry
- News coverage (print)
- Ecological Network of Sowers of Justice informational brochure
- Resources booklet from the Ecological Network of Sowers of Justice
- Confirmation and Creation Lesson Plan
- Ecology Checklist for Parishes
- Earth Day – sample brochure