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Eco Congregation



“Do no harm to the earth


The human commitment to continue the work of God on earth requires us to tend the land and conserve the waters, to till the garden and protect the animals, to use the things of the earth in ways that enhance all life now and preserve them for later generations as well.”


This Saturday 22nd April is International Earth Day, a great time to start thinking about our choices and changing our behaviour.

   We join in prayer to the Creator God, with the earth and with each other to bring new life to the land, to restore the water, to cleanse the air, to grow the forests, to embrace the sunlight and moonlight, to sing in harmony, to recall our destiny, to build community, to remember who we are.


Sing to the Beloved with thanksgiving:

Mingle with the melodies of the spheres!

Awaken to your inheritance in the entire universe!

For you belong to heaven, to the stars and galaxies. You come also from the earth, from mineral and plant, pure water courses through your veins” Psalm 147.

Next Saturday 22nd April marks Earth Day 2017 – we invite you to choose walking instead of driving whenever and wherever that is possible for you e.g. travelling to Mass.


“The climate is a common good, belonging to and meant for all. At the global level it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid consistent consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system… Humanity is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption in order to combat this warming, or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.” Pope Francis, Laudato Si # 23. Watch out for new film ‘RiverBlue’, and check out where it will be screened in 2017.


The ways Climate change is making water issues worse. Due to our warming planet, water cycles and weather patterns are shifting, increasing the intensity and number of droughts, floods and accelerating the rising of the sea.

We see this now in Peru which was just devastated by heavy rains and floods that killed over 72 people and displaced thousands.  Climate-induced water problems are also decreasing access to clean water. Already 663 million people lack access to clean water.

That is 1 in every 10 people.


Pray to God for the grace to know how you are invited to better care for creation, the poor and future generations, In his message, Pope Francis offers the following guidance…

    As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires ‘simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness’ and ‘makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world…A single question can keep our eyes fixed on the goal: ‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’  All quotes are from Pope Francis’ message “Show Mercy to our Common Home”


   Reflection: - “In calling to mind the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with Creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire for change. “Laudato Si” 218.

Indigenous peoples around the world call us to stand in solidarity with them and with Earth out of love, not anger or hate. Will we hear their challenge to us to break our addiction to fossil fuel that is based on oppression of so many communities?

Exposing the True Costs of Fossil Fuels:


   Be WildAwake – walk in awareness of the natural world that surrounds you – no headphones, not power-walking nor walking to lose weight necessarily – but simply a WildAwake walk to see, hear and appreciate nature every now and again: all the research data tells us that being out in nature is good for body and soul.

For further information look up their special mission is to establish WildAcres across Ireland to create safe habitats, vital for biodiversity.


Green Eco Tips for a Healthy Planet:

Frist: Reduce – The critical first step of waste prevention has been overshadowed by a focus on recycling. Please help to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “Reduce” part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra.

Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or reuse and Rot (compost) the rest. For a great overview of how raw materials and products move around the world, see the video ‘The Story of Stuff’.

Go Zero Waste: is our ultimate goal–learn how at Zero Waste Home.


   Thurs. 26th Jan. marked an important moment in the history of the Divestment Movement. The Irish parliament became the first in the world to vote to divest from fossil fuels, thus paving the way for a historic ban on government investment in non-renewable energy.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill will now go to Committee stage in the Parliament. This enables Ireland to divest its sovereign wealth fund – Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) worth €8.5 billion, from coal, gas and oil and will see a ban on any further fossil fuels investment going forward. This success is the result of fantastic campaigning by our friends at Trócaire key members of parliament and many people across Ireland taking action on fossil fuel divestment.


   The rise of over-consumption and fast fashion has seen the volume of textile-waste going to landfill rocket in the last few years. “We prevent 213 tons of waste per year going to landfill” the Manager of the nine Barnardos Charity Shops told Duncan Stuart on his ‘Eco Eye’ programme recently. There are 400 Charity Shops presently in Ireland and as well as the great ethical work they do in raising money for charity they also play a key role in managing the waste caused by our love for fashion. A solution to help reduce consumption; is to buy less and reuse by donating to charity shops.

The fashion blogger Ciara O’Doherty, shops regularly in Charity shops and has some interesting things to say about this in her blog.

Ciara O’Doherty is a fashion blogger whose YouTube videos are watched by thousands of enthusiastic followers. A recent video is about down-sizing our wardrobes. She likes to share messages of being more minimalist and mindful about how we shop – to shop better and to shop smarter, to change our perspective and make our shopping as ethical as we can. It is January – the perfect time of year to do a nice spring-clean of our wardrobes! Start now.
Next Eco Congregation meeting will be held on Thursday 26th January, at 8 p.m., at Carrowbeg House.
∆ It takes 500 – 1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
∆ One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
∆ Billions of pounds of plastic can be found in swirling convergences in the oceans making up about 40 percent of the world’s ocean surfaces. 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from the land.
What small action(S) can you take during the coming week?
∆ Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
∆ Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the nasty impacts of plastic pollution.
On January 1st – World Day of Peace – Pope Francis’ message was: “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace”.
Cultivating peace and caring for creation are inextricably linked. In his message, Pope Francis quotes from Laudato Si stating that “an integral ecology is...made up of simple daily gestures that break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.” (LS, 19). As we begin this New Year, we invite you to read Pope Francis’ message and see how together we might “make active nonviolence our way of life.”


“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”, Pope Francis, in “Laudato Si”

   Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Re-think – are standards for sustainable living. Let us rethink about the waste we produce as we prepare for this Christmas Season. Minimizing the amount of waste can bring about a more sustainable environment for future generations and reduce our environmental footprint.

Upcoming Eco-Congregation  Westport events

ClimateGAthering3 page 001


Care for our Common Home, Sunday 4th December

In the approach to Christmas we are asked to consider how we can thread more gently on earth. Holy Trinity and St. Marys congregation will be invited to make a pledge to help protect Our Common Home. These pledges will become links in the Chain for Change which will decorate the churches this Christmas.


At 12.45 the public are invited to join together and walk around the Mall to signify our commitment to protecting the planet.



Join artist Nicky Dowd and make beautiful Christmas gifts and decorations from waste materials. Bring along foil trays, egg
cartons, used stamps, jam jars, pizza & cereal boxes. Festive treats provided!!
Free event, all welcome; at the Clew Bay Hotel,
10.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. and 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. on this Thursday 1st December 2016 

CARE OF CREATION / ECO CONGREGATION: Bolivia passes “Law of Mother Earth” which gives rights to our planet as a living system. The Law of Mother Earth holds the land as sacred and holds it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation. (In the world view of indigenous peoples and nations Mother Earth is considered sacred.)

The law enumerates seven specific rights to which Mother Earth and her constituent life systems, including human communities, are entitled to: wiki/Law of Rights of Mother Earth


Westport Eco-Congregation - be part of the Chain for Change workshop with Sr. Patricia Lynott.

Sr. Patricia Lynott of the Newman Institute Ballina is holding two workshops on Thursday 17th November exploring the meaning of the Pope's encyclical letter on 'Caring for our Common Home' and inviting us to be part of the Chain for Change.

Workshop 1: After 10am mass in Carrowbeg house.

Workshop 2: Public event at 7pm in the Clew Bay Hotel.

Refreshments provided.

This workshop will be followed by an Eco-Congregation meeting, everyone welcome.


On October 27th, our Dáil gave unanimous backing to Tony McLoughlin’s private members’ Bill to ban fracking. This is not just a crucial step towards banning fracking; it is an historic first step towards a fossil-free future for Ireland. The decision came on the same day the Dáil voted to ratify the Paris Agreement which has now come into force. We need to keep 80% of proven global reserves of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to have a decent chance of achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement. We look forward to working with everyone who wants to make that vision a reality.

CARE OF CREATION / ECO CONGREGATION:  Reuse, Repair and Recycle: – rethink before throwing away an item you think is broken, worn out or is no longer wanted. Before discarding any item first ask yourself the following questions:   Can it be reused? Is it repairable? Is it recyclable?


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink – are standards for sustainable living.  You can rethink about the waste you produce by using alternative products and considering how you can further reduce your environmental footprint. 

Minimizing the amount of waste you create can bring about a more sustainable environment for future generations.

CARE OF CREATION / ECO CONGREGATION: SAVING BY RECYCLING: • Avoid filling your refuse with electrical and battery waste that can be recycled for free.     • Every battery recycled through (WEEE) – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment helps raise funds for “LauraLynn” – Ireland’s Children’s Hospice.      • The Great Bulb Exchange –free flower bulbs for recyclersRecycle your waste CFL bulbs at your local hardware store in exchange for a free Daffodil bulb – Be a bright spark! Ask in store for details

CARE OF CREATION / ECO CONGREGATION: October 2016 has been designated National Reuse Month. At the launch Minister Denis Naughton said “National reuse month is a new waste prevention initiative to raise awareness about the economic and environmental benefits of reusing everyday items and materials that would otherwise go to waste. Donating, refurbishing and repairing items are all forms of reuse and offer people a chance to save or make money, get creative, learn a new skill and do their bit for the environment”. We invite each other to play our part in this initiative…opportunities abound!

 Creation Time: The ‘Good Shepherd’ pilot an alternative concept to mowing grass with fossil fuel based machines; this project will use sheep to cut grass over three days at The Fairways.  We need a sustainable way to manage this issue and find alternatives to intensive grass cutting.  

For more information Tel. Caroline on 086 8745314.

  1)   Fr. Seán McDonagh will speak at all Masses this weekend, 24th and 25th September 2016.

  2)  Tree Trail, on the Mall after 6.30 p.m. Mass, on Saturday 24th September with Sue Ironmonger.

  3)  Launch, fun activities &’Bling your Bike’ workshop on Sun. 25th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Fairways.

Please consider the environment and try to walk to Park n' Stride to church for the Season of Creation.

Here's the link to our facebook page :

Westport Eco-Congregation

A PR explaining Eco-Congregation Westport and highlighting all the work done so far.

Westport Catholic and Church of Ireland have come together to become an Eco-Congregation adopting aneco approachto worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, community outreach and contact with the developing world.

An environmental prayer is included in the weekly prayers of the faithful and an Eco-tip is given in the weekly newsletter. Environmental events in Westport are promoted and encouraged at Mass and in the newsletter.

Events organised so far:

Westport Climate Change Gathering, Sunday 29th 12.45pm, The Mall, Westport 

Over 300 people from the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, local and county wide community groups and the general public walked around the Mall to symbolise our wish to work together to protect our town and our future and to call on our government to join in and take action on Climate Change at the UN Climate Conference in Paris. Westport Climate Change Gathering was part of international Climate Change March before COP21, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

The event received local newspaper and radio coverage before and after the event as well as on social media.

Mayo video

Westport Earth Hour Event

To celebrate International Earth Hour on Saturday 19th March St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity Church bells rang at 8.30pm calling on landmarks and businesses to switch off their lights. 175 people joined together at the Sentinel to watch the lights of the Sentinel, Westport Town Hall, Holy Trinity Church and the Wyatt Hotel switch off their lights as a symbolic gesture of their commitment to tackling climate change. Portwest, O’ Reilly Turpin, The Whyte House, Westport Bikes4Hire and Christy’s Harvest also participated by switching off their lights for the night. 

Earth Hour in Westport and worldwide is a call for each of us to be part of the solution to runaway Climate Change. Participants in Westport walked, cycled and carpooled to Gracy’s for candlelit, wood-fired pizza and music and made pledges to change one thing in their life to help protect the earth. Pledges included walking to work, producing less waste, joining local environmental community groups, discussing Climate Change with others and many more.

The event received national and local newspaper and radio coverage before and after the event as well as on social media. Manchán Magan, journalist for Newstalk and the Irish Times attended the event and the event received coverage on Irish TV. – Earth Hour video by Dr. Oliver White

Climate Change Expo

All local environmental community groups came together on 21st April 2016 to display their work and to invite the public to get involved. Pupils from Holy Trinity NS and the Sacred Heart School made posters explain Climate change and giving environmental tips. The display has been left up for the month of May.

Involvement of secondary schools:

Transition Year – JP2 Award Students – 1 class group – setup a link with Eco Congregation after the Climate Change discussion. This group created displays, completed energy audits of both churches and surveys for parishioners.


  • What is Climate Change?
  • What causes climate change?
  • Main CO2 emissions in Ireland
  • What are Irelands targets?
  • What is COP21?
  • What can we do to help reduce of CO2 emissions?
  • Local organisations
  • Follow up work - 5 Points to encourage behavioural change; posters, essays and speeches.
  • This material was collected from the schools and displayed as part of the Climate Change EXPO in the Town Hall during WST Spring Forward Festival.

Fr. Sean McDonagh


A Journey of Discovery on the Mall Tree Trail.

Sunday, 12th June, was a bright sunny day in Westport with the hum of the Hooley in the House drifting on the air. About 25 adults & children joined Eco-Congregation to discover the Tree Trail on the Mall.

The Tree Trail was created by Westport Tourism Organisation with the support of the Town Council. Dr Sue Iremonger identified the trees for the project.

People set off along the trail beginning at No.1, a Sycamore, opposite the Presbytery. Every tree has a black label with a number & then the common name, latin name & Irish name of the trees.

Eco-Congregation issued activity sheets to everyone who attended & pens to those without. The exercise was to read down through the activity sheet of 13 questions relating to the trees. Then they had to begin at No.1 & make their way along the South Mall to the Fairgreen & back along the North Mall to the last tree, No.70, a Whitebeam, opposite Tuohy O’Toole Auctioneers. All the time, they were discovering the trees by the river & looking for answers to clues in the activity sheet.

Acquaintances were made & people ambled along talking & laughing while on a journey of discovery together. What was there to discover ? Well, many people , though local, didn’t know the trees had labels to identify them. They never guessed that there could be almost 70 trees along the North & South Mall. They were amazed that there could be 18 different sorts of trees. Many didn’t know that there is a board across the street from the Post Office with a town map on one side & a board of images & information about Native Irish Trees on the other side.

Most importantly of all, people don’t usually have time in the day-to-day running around that has to be done to look at the trees by the Carrowbeg river & really enjoy the beauty they have to offer. Of course, that beauty changes with the seasons, so it is fair to say that the trees keep giving right through the year.

At the end of the activity, people said how much they had enjoyed themselves & the company & fun of the people they were with. Two men, Tony King & Frank Murphy, met for the first time at the starting point. They joined up to do the activity & an hour later, they were still to be found approaching trees & making notes with the thoroughness & dedication of Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson !

It is fair to say that a good time was had by all ! 



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