Parish forms green teams in response to Laudato Si'
When our parishes, Ascension and St. Edmund, in Oak Park, IL, were merged into one in 2023, we were animated by common inspiration by Pope Francis’ call to care for God’s creation in his encyclical, Laudato Si’. Responding to the “Cry of the Poor,” community gardeners at both churches donate over 2,000 pounds of produce to local food pantries every year. Zero waste is the hallmark of all parish events, including school lunches. Our parish is home to a garden of native plants and a “Dandelion Brigade” of school parents and supporters who keep pesticides off school grounds with our sweat equity. Every week our bulletin features a Creation Care item. By advocating for fossil fuel disinvestment, and investment in solar and geothermal parish infrastructure, we remind all Catholics—leaders and lay--that there are pressing needs they must address. Imaginative ecological educational activities delight our children after Mass on designated Sundays throughout our warmer months. We are longtime members of a local Interfaith Green Network and work to collaborate in activities that embrace our ecological ethos.