All Around the World Oblates Are Going Green
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Series of items compiled by Mike Viola for Oblates Magazine
A Wake-Up Call to Get Involved
A message from Superior General Fr. Louis Lougen, O.M.I.
Dear Oblates, friends and people of good will,
Wake up and get involved!
The best scientific calculations about our earth’s climate tells us that the human family has at most 10 years before the deterioration of the earth will become irreversible. We have to act now and together, or this precious gift of God will be destroyed by our ruthless exploitation.
The major focus for the Oblates is the launching of a plan for various types of communities/institutions to make a commitment to become totally sustainable over the next seven years. This is a challenge for all our communities and units. Get involved!
The cry of the poor and the destruction of the environment go hand-in-hand. The present pandemic is but a small sign of the chaos we have wreaked on nature. Future global disasters will multiply if we do not choose to act effectively and immediately in favor of the gift of God’s creation.
Many Oblates and collaborators around the world are already acting to care for our common home in many prophetic initiatives, and for this I thank you. All of us, in all instances of our life and ministry, must embrace fully this urgent concern to act now, to alter the course of human history and opt for the care for God’s precious creation.
Thank you for your commitment. We place this critical opportunity before Our Lady, Mother of the Creator, asking her to move us into action in a significant way.
In Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,
Fr. Louis Lougen, O.M.I. Superior General
Oblate General House Goes Green
Recently the Oblates’ General House installed solar panels as part of a seven-year project to make the congregation’s headquarters more green. A total of 332 photovoltaic panels have been fixed on the rooftop and are expected to generate over 90 kilowatts per day.
Father Marc Dessareault, O.M.I., the Treasurer General, expects the solar panels to result in energy savings that will allow the Oblates to get their investment back in six or seven years.
“The electricity produced by the solar panels will be solely for the usage of the General House, and we are now seeing its advantage with the reduction of our electricity bills” Fr. Marc said.
During the summer there is an added advantage. The three heat pumps, which produce the air-conditioning, will be sending the heat they produce to the boilers, and they in turn will help produce hot water for the house. In that sense, it will be a double recycling of electricity.
Philippine Priest Brings Garden To Life
Condensed from a Licas News article
Reaping the fruits of one’s labor is taking place at a Missionary Oblate parish on the outskirts of Manila in the Philippines.
The urban gardening project, called “Project Grace,” is being spearheaded by Fr. Eduardo Vasquez, O.M.I. and the other Oblates at Our Lady of Holy Grace Parish.
“I want to prove that it is possible to plant vegetables in an urban community and in your own home despite the absence of a backyard or a piece of land,” said Fr. Vasquez.
During the Covid-19 lockdown many poor families told Fr. Vasquez they did not have enough food to eat. So he developed a program at the parish aimed at helping poor families secure their own food.
Father Vasquez uprooted all the decorative plants around the parish compound and replaced them with plants that can be harvested and eaten. He urged the staff and church volunteers to collect used plastic containers and empty cans that they later used for planting.
Today the urban garden produces various fruits and vegetables including bananas, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, okra, taro, grapes and various herbal plants.
Father Vasquez said to respond to the call of Pope Francis “to care for our common home” should not be complicated.
“To translate the message of the Holy Father for people to understand, we need to show them what a concrete ecological action really means,” he said.
Rebirth of a Garden in Oakland
When a charter school in Oakland, California went to virtual learning, gardens at the school were abandoned and eventually overgrown. That’s when Fr. Jack Lau, O.M.I. and parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish stepped in.
Father Jack and his volunteers revitalized the gardens which began to provide a bounty of vegetables. The fresh vegetables are now being distributed to parishioners who may have been laid off or otherwise are in need of help.
As a multicultural parish, some parishioners have enjoyed touring the gardens just to remind themselves of gardening back in the Philippines, Vietnam or Nigeria.
In addition to his gardening skills, Fr. Jack also recently became a Laudato Si’ animator which involves training in how to help the community care for creation.
La Vista Learning Garden
Since its inception in 2001, the La Vista Ecological Learning Center has taught that how we eat determines, to a great extent, how we care for creation.
The La Vista Learning Garden, located on the grounds of the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois is one of the learning center’s primarily education program.
The Learning Garden allows Oblate novices, along with members of the community, to learn and practice:
- Sustainable gardening skills like creating a garden plan, organic soil preparation, fertilization, crop rotation and harvesting vegetables and fruits.
- Raising and caring for chickens
- Backyard beekeeping
- Cooking and nutrition
- Hand carving kitchen utensils
- Do it yourself recycled garden decorations