by Parish Correspondent
YERWADA-PUNE, JANUARY 6, 2015: The 2015 calendar of Sacred Heart Parish, Yerwada has as its theme 'Becoming A Greener Parish'. This is not just a fashion statement; the parish has made a serious commitment to become a Green Parish. In fact, several steps have already been taken in this direction. The Indian Express (Pune Edition) reporting on the Christmas celebrations in the parish said: "The Sacred Heart parish in Yerwada will welcome a 'green' Santa this Christmas as part of its eco-friendly campaign. The parish, which is the first among 34 parishes and centres under the Diocese of Poona to launch such an initiative, will offer saplings instead of bouquets at felicitation programmes promote kitchen gardens and use recycled material for decoration."
This green wave began with the Parish Priest Fr. Anton D'Souza organizing a session on environmental concerns for the members of the Parish Council as well as the leaders of all the Groups and Associations in the parish. The resource person, Fr. Savio Silveira, from GreenLine Mumbai, highlighted various environmental issues that we are presently facing and then went on to describe different practical steps that the parish could take. Following this session, a Parish Green Team was constituted and a Green Plan drawn up for the parish.
The 'Green Parish' inauguration was held on December 7, 2014, during the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, for which Fr. Roque Green, Judicial Vicar of the Pune Diocese was the main celebrant. "The earth was once a beautiful and divine place. Over the years, the human race has exploited its natural resources beyond limit and polluted its rivers with factory waste and chemicals. The air we breathe today is poisoned with burning plastic, waste materials and pollution. The value of trees has been lost as they are being cut to build concrete jungles" said Fr. Anton D'Souza, Parish Priest. He exhorted the parishioners to take a 'go green pledge' and save the mother earth.
Complementing Sacred Heart Parish, Fr. Malcolm Sequeira, Vicar General of the Pune Diocese, said this is a first such initiative in the diocese. He hoped that this example will be emulated by other parishes too.