GIPL embarked on a new partnership with the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta as funded through a special grant earlier this year. This partnership supports a new initiative to help Catholic parishes and parochial schools embrace energy efficiency and water conservation in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical – Laudato Si. In 2016, the Archdiocese published The Climate Action Plan as a practical guide for parishes in adapting the teachings of Laudato Si. Recognizing that GIPL has resources and programs to help parishes in the area, the Archdiocese invited GIPL to create a special pilot project in service to 9 selected parishes and 3 local Catholic school.
The goal of the Catholic Pilot Project is to reduce the environmental footprint of these churches and schools, making their facilities more energy and water efficient. It is expected that each of these churches and schools will increase efficiencies by 25% and thus, cutting energy and water utility costs by at least 20%. These savings will go a long way for each church and school that embraces this work. Additionally, while facilities are being upgraded, education programs will be offered that incorporate themes from Laudato Si as well as other biblical foundations on stewardship and Creation care.
GIPL has hired the consulting services of Brian Savoie, an Atlanta engineer and member of St. Jude Catholic Church in Sandy Springs. Brian comes to this project with a heart for environmental stewardship and thirty years of engineering and business experience. Brian will offer direct support to each of the parishes and schools engaged through this program. Additional partners providing support include Southface Energy Institute and US Green Building Council-Georgia Chapter. The work began in March with the first energy audit completed on St. Matthews Catholic Church in Tyrone. That parish now has a list of energy conservation measures that will guide their next steps in the project. The GIPL team looks forward to sharing the progress of this parish as well as all the others in the months to come. Learn more about St. Matthews’ recent energy audit in The Georgia Bulletin
“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. – Laudato Si