Parishes: 10 ways to live more simply

The second part of the Laudato Si’ pledge calls us to Live More Simply.

In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis invites us to, “return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.” (222). As a way to live Laudato’ Si, we invite you to look for ways to use less, to share more, and to focus on relationships instead of things.

    1. Buy less stuff—Before purchasing something new, ask, “Does the parish really need this? Will it help us in our mission? Will it serve our community?” To the extent able, have items repaired rather than throwing them out.  

    3.  Buy more consciously—Look for goods that have less packaging. For instance, don’t buy individually wrapped cheese, or individual snack packs. Buy fewer things, but spend more to buy local, or support businesses that pay fair wages.   

    5. Share more—Look for ways to encourage your parish to share more, such as finding space at the church for a “tool library” where the community can share yard equipment or house tools they might need, or organizing toy or clothing swaps for the parishioners. Encourage parishioners to volunteer to join community groups.   

    7.  Waste less—Reduce food waste, and avoid throwing away food whenever possible. Use reusable flatware, cups, and dishes for parish events and look for volunteers to wash the dishes instead of using disposable products.   

    9.  Eat more intentionally—Go meat free for certain parish events. This is good for the environment, but could also showcase vegetarian examples for individuals. And try to use local or Fair Trade products wherever possible, such as in your coffee or tea.   

    11. Drive Less–Make it easy for parishioners to bike, walk, or use public transportation whenever possible by adding a bike rack and sidewalks. Set up a way for parishioners to find each other to carpool for Church and other events.   

    13. Nurture relationships—Host more community events at the parish. Look for ways to build the community, not just through specific ministries, but just fun gatherings for all. Encourage parts of the community that don’t always mix-such as different language or ethnic communities, or encourage the Sunday night and the 7:00am Masses to get together.   

    15. Encourage quality time—In your sermons and homilies, talk about the importance of relationships and building quality time. Open additional time in the parish for silent prayer, or for parishioners to go out into nature. Encourage everyone to greet one another before Mass begins.    

    17. Examine your parish for waste. Turn the air conditioning up by one degree, or the heat down by one degree. Don’t buy bottled water for events. Cut down on your “phantom energy” use-unplug items when they don’t need to be charged. Review our eco-parish guide for in depth ways to decrease your carbon use.   

    19. Take time to pray and give thanks—Have each ministry take a few minutes as part of each meeting to pray, to give thanks, and to savor the things that you do have.