Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

Generosity, Gratitude, and Grace – Gardeners Share their Gifts

“Is this a weed?” “Yank it out!” “You know, some annuals might fill this space nicely, and bring color in July.”

“Wouldn’t a restful spot for prayer be lovely over here?”

“Oh, yes, a contemplative space would be lovely – gardens of remembrance.”

It’s a joyous ministry, These gardeners know how to have a good time – together. And, the grounds around St. Pius X are shaping up beautifully, thanks to their hard work each Thursday morning. Unless there’s pouring rain, you’ll find them there, starting at 7:30, wrapping up around 9:30 each Thursday morning. Your help is welcome – and needed – whether on a one time, occasional or frequent basis. You’ll learn as much as you’ll laugh.

Weeds are for the Bees

Weeds are for the Bees

Weeds are for the Bees

There’s not much that is more appealing than the sight – and scent – of a freshly mown lawn. As terrific as that is, the notion of helping pollinators early in the Maine spring is even more appealing. So, we’ve joined others who are giving the bees and other early pollinators a head start by providing habitat and forage for them as part of No Mow May. This initiative started in the United Kingdom and has earned support on this side of the Atlantic, including Portland and other parts of the state.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s harder than you might imagine for us to see our grass look unkempt, but we remember that we are working to care for our common home in small ways every day – hoping they add up. Seeing bees enjoying those bright, yellow dandelions is uplifting! We’ll see where it goes, but so far, the team’s been committed to seeing it through until Wednesday, June 1st!

Earth Day: Caring for Our Common Home

Earth Day: Caring for Our Common Home

Earth Day: Caring for Our Common Home

The Encyclical Letter from Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home, opens with: “Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.

The winter storms and wind left a lot of litter behind, which we were able to pickup and dispose of properly at both Stevens and Ocean Avenue locations. The adage “many hands make light work” was put to the test — and proven to be true, especially when picking up branches and sticks that had blown around the front of St. Pius X Church. That wind that comes up from Back Cove and over the hill of Payson Park danced in the trees and shook loose branches from the maple.

It felt good to show our care for the grounds around our churches – our worship spaces – on the sunny Friday that was Earth Day this year. They sure needed it. We needed it, too, as it turns out. Such is often the way when caring for God’s creation and each other.

Many thanks to the parishioners who volunteered, and put their faith into action, reminding us that Earth Day is not just one day each year, but an outlook that sees many opportunities to care.

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

There is an abundant sense of place to this State we call home. From the mountains to the sea, with woods and lakes interspersed, people pull together to maintain and protect their corners of the state. In our earlier post about small steps to care for our common home, we covered everyday things we can all do, combined with others make a positive impact for our environment – God’s creation.

In this post, we want to provide some resources to help us jumpstart our collective efforts. Some listed will be familiar, no doubt. Others may spark some new action. Let’s go!

Meet your farmers at the Portland Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm, at our neighbors on 631 Stevens Ave right in the Stevens Square Community Center. SNAP is welcomed; purchases are matched 50%! The Market Info Booth will give you more details. Learn more at

On Sundays from 10-2 South Portland hosts their Farmers Market. In the winter, they are in the old Hamlin School Gym at the City’s planning and development building. From May to October you’ll find them at 496 Ocean Street (in Mill Creek area),

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose!
Clean out your wardrobe. Donate items you haven’t worn in a long time; you’ll reduce waste and provide stability for our neighbors through our local nonprofit Goodwill Northern New England .

Maine Needs has a variety of opportunities to volunteer, donate goods and supplies. They’re on Forest Avenue near USM.

Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang rehabilitation and reentry program, founded by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ has a mail-in Electronics Recycling program called Homeboy Recycling.

You can also responsibly recycle electronics (including chords and cables) through Goodwill. Learn more about how they handle all aspects of computer donations . Best Buy offers Electronics, Appliances and Fitness Equipment Recycling and describe it here:

Not sure what goes where? Visit Riverside Recyling online to learn.

And, if you’d like some books, article, videos or more to deepen your eco-knowledge, the Social Justice and Peace Commission has also built this initial library of recommended publications on the environment.

• On Care for Our Common Home Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment)

• Finding God in a Leaf: The Mysticism of Laudato Si’ by Brian Grogan SJ

• At Home on Earth: Foundations for a Catholic Ethic of the Environment by Msgr Charles M. Murphy

• Climate, Catastrophe, and Faith: How Changes in Climate Drive Religious Upheaval by Philip Jenkins

• A Dream of the Earth by Fr. Thomas Berry

• An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Al Gore

• The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

• New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry

• An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming
• 2040
• David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

• Climate Change: It Changes Everything:
• Catholic Climate Covenant video resources:
• We’re Cooked, Part 1:
• Gulf of Maine, Explained: The Warming of the Gulf of Maine
• Gulf of Maine, Explained: Sea Level Rise

Other Publications
• Catholic Relief Services Publications:

Thank you for your interest and for joining our shared purpose of caring for our common home here in Maine – and beyond. God’s counting on us.

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, is a traditional time for fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Our Lady of Hope’s Social Justice and Peace Commission and the Jesuit Community invite you to consider taking environmentally friendly actions that show care for “Our Common Home.” By prayerfully engaging in one or more of the following suggested actions, we can collectively steward our resources (a traditional reason for fasting).

We also invite you to share your commitment to undertake one or more of these actions with others in the parish by placing a green dot on the posters at St. Pius X and St. Joseph. By making this witness, we hope that our communal practice can build the sense of community and shared purpose in the parish.

Some of these steps are ones you already have incorporated into your routine, some may be new. And, there are undoubtedly ones that aren’t in this list that could be. Go ahead. Take bigger steps! In a couple of months, we’ll revisit this topic. We’ll learn from each other about the ways that these steps have influenced our thinking, daily actions – and prayer life!

Places to start:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Switch light bulbs to eco-friendly LED light bulbs.
  • Unplug devices and appliances when not in use.
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics.
  • Replace disposable plastic water bottle and straws with stainless.
  • Replace plastic wrap with reusable silicone covers.
  • Store food in reusable containers.
  • Drive your car less often.
  • Carpool, use public transportation, ride your bike, or walk, when possible.
  • Combine as many errands as you can in one car trip.
  • Pick up litter.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and pick up 10 pieces of litter.
  • Spend an hour clearing up a local park, beach, lake, or river.
  • Clean out your wardrobe. Donate items you haven’t worn in a long time.
  • Recycle electronics (including chords and cables).
  • Add a meatless Monday (or other day) to meatless Fridays.
  • Buy local. Buy produce at a winter farmers market

Improve Your Eco-Knowledge Watch a documentary, read a book or an article. Have a discussion with family and friends – and Go Green for Lent! It may just change your perspective beyond this season.

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