By Cian Molloy - 04 September, 2019
There is less than a week to go in Bishop Denis Nulty’s initiative to find Ireland’s favourite prayer and to devise new environmental prayers that might help save us from the catastrophe of climate change.
In a fortnight’s time we shall find out: is the Hail Mary more popular than the Our Father? Is there a prayer other than these two that is especially beloved to Irish Catholics, perhaps the Memorare, maybe the Glory Be, or are we especially devoted to the Rosary, which is in fact a compendium of prayer?
We will find out the answer to these questions at the National Ploughing Championships, which takes place in Fenagh, Co. Carlow, from Tuesday to Thursday 17 to 19 September.
In the meantime, if you want to nominate your favourite prayer, you can do so via [email protected], but remember that the closing date for nominations is Tuesday 10 September.
You can also use that email address for submitting your own newly composed personal prayer about the environment. This newly composed prayer can be on any aspect of the world we live in, but must be no longer than 100 words. It will be interesting to see how many of the prayers are composed by young people, now that the nation’s children have returned to school.
Earlier this week Bishop Nulty celebrated a Mass to launch the Season of Creation, a period in the Church’s calendar running this year from Sunday 1 September to Friday 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.
Bishop Nulty used his homily in that Mass to warn of the damaging effects of climate change.
“When someone as eminent as David Attenborough starts to warn that the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon, it’s long after time for us to sit up and listen,” he said.
“I read recently if every family in the world consumed the same as the average Irish family consumes today, we would need 3.3 planets to supply our needs. This is simply unsustainable. The idea of infinite or unlimited growth while attractive perhaps to economists and financiers is based on the premise that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods and as Pope Francis said ‘this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit’.”
The bishop noted that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last year we had 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.
“Remember the snow we had at Easter last year? And in 2016 when floodwater embankments on the River Shannon at Athlone and on the River Lee in Cork were breeched? 1.5 degrees may seem pretty insignificant around Ardattin, Grange or Tullow, but the effect on the glaciers in the North Pole is already profound. Where will the waters flow when those glaciers thaw? Around the world it is always the poorest who are contributing the least to global warming but who suffer the most.
“The Season of Creation is a very timely reminder that the clock is ticking. Recycling is no longer an optional habit; it is the very basic and nothing more. Illegal dumping needs to be exposed and uncovered.”
At the end of Sunday’s Mass at the Church of the Most Holy Rosary in Tullow, Co. Carlow, Bishop Nulty planted a rowan tree, known also as a mountain ash, in the grounds of the Cairdeas Centre next to the church. “This tree is a native tree to this region,” he said. “It is distinct for its red berries that come in the autumn. I pray this tree and its berries will be a constant reminder to all of us in these parts to do our bit to care together for our common home.”