Greystanes parishioners nurturing their green thumbs

By Geoff Pearce, 23 May 2020
Parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes working in a local community garden. Image: Supplied.


Communities in Western Sydney showcase their care for our common home.

From May 16 to 24, Catholic communities around the world are celebrating Laudato Si’ Week.

Laudato Si’ Week – which marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical – is sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and is meant to encourage Catholic communities to take bolder actions for creation during the week-long initiative.

Ahead of Laudato Si’ Week, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta and Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service, recorded a video message, encouraging the faithful to “have the courage to align ourselves with God’s plan for the world.”

To commemorate Laudato Si’ Week, Catholic Outlook has reached out to parishes, schools and faith movements to share how they are caring for our common home.


Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes 

Within the parish, there is an active garden group that maintains the grounds and keeps a lively veggie patch for our parish priests. Some members of this garden group are also actively involved in a local community garden, which they use to grow food for themselves as well as sharing with others and thus forming community networks.

It is within these community gardens that we see the universal call of all to fund peace by being in nature. It is here that interfaith dialogue with respect, compassion, humility and gratitude about our common home takes place at a grassroots level. These gardens can be diverse culturally, where we can experience the cultural ecology and ecology of daily life evolving, as Pope Francis illustrates in Laudato Si’ (paragraphs 142-155).

From here, we move on to all the basic activities required to live sustainably, where the parish social justice group have implemented many ways to reduce our carbon footprint through many facets of recycling and participation in Earth Hour.

As John Abdel-Ahad, the chairperson of the social justice group explained, the group focuses on the environment and also those most affected by poverty. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis illustrates that it is the poor that are most affected by environmental degradation, and also impacts our refugees. We need to work on seeing how we create a sense of local community in our everyday activities and the impact it can have on the wider community. Once again, this brings hope and highlights the small endeavours we make.

The most encouraging aspect of our parish has been the way it has looked at trying to integrate the local schools, which are all on the same site as the parish, to develop a new sense of interrelatedness and sense of one community. This challenges our cultural boundaries, but has been such a significant step towards creating an “integral ecology” (Laudato Si’, paragraphs 137-162), which Pope Francis has encouraged.

Keep an eye on Catholic Outlook and on the Diocese of Parramatta’s Facebook and Instagram social media channels throughout this week as we share stories to mark Laudato Si’ Week.

Geoff Pearce is a parishioner of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes.


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