Long-term commitment key to Seattle parish 'going green'

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish volunteerrs take a break during the construction of 10 garden beds that supply produce for the parish's Lettuce Pray program, which supports area food banks. The gardens will be watered by a roof rain catchment system. (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish)

Seattle's Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish campus features an array of "living green" initiatives -- projects like solar panels, water catchment, recycling and energy monitoring.

However, the long-term example set by the parish might rest more on its sustained commitment to environmental stewardship than its cutting-edge technical and operational enterprises.

The "Our Lady of Guadalupe Sustainable, Green Use Policy" clearly serves as a manifesto for parishioners and staff, and an implicit challenge to other organizations, Catholic or not.

Adopted by the parish, the policy underscores three principles -- reduce, reuse and recycle.

Fundamental to those three objectives, the policy explains, are "utilizing composting, recycling and minimizing garbage generation." And central to that, it continues, "will be the 'plastic free' theme."

Our Lady of Guadalupe was a Laudato Si' parish long before Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment was rolled out last June. 

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A version of this story appeared in the April 8-21, 2016 print issue under the headline: "Long-term commitment key to Seattle parish 'going green' " .

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