Faith and Ecology in Ireland and around the Globe

By Julie Espina, Brett Garland & Tracey Horan
August 1, 2011

Upcoming Events

Immediately – Accepting applications for CCAO Outreach Associate position

August 8 – CCAO Bi-Monthly E-Newsletter is launched

August 9 – International Day for the World’s Indigenous People

August 15 – Deadline to apply for October Mission Exposure Trip to China

August 15 – Columban Advocates Conference Call (join the Columban Advocates at groups.google.com/group/columbanadvocates)

September 10 – Fall Advocacy Internship begins. Read the Intern’s blog

For two weeks this summer, Columbans who work on justice and peace issues from around the world gathered in Ireland, at the Burren in County Clare and at Dalgan. While there, they studied the unique geology, plant and animal life in the region, as well as the human connections with it. Participants spent time in lectures and field studies to fully experience the ecology of the Burren. They also took part in group discussions and brainstorming sessions about current JPIC issues. Representing the U.S. region at this gathering were two young adults: Brett Garland, a student at the Catholic University of America, and a former Columban intern, and Tracey Horan, a teacher in an El Paso, Texas, school who is connected to the Columban community at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brett and Tracey have been sending feedback from their time in Ireland, sharing with us the experience of meeting Columbans from all around the world, the experience of forming a deeper relationship with God’s creation, and the experience of sharing a variety of viewpoints on pressing justice and peace issues. Below are excerpts from some of this feedback. At the end of this article is a link to a blog with more of their thoughts, and many more photos documenting their time in Ireland. This blog will continue to be updated throughout the month of August, so stay tuned to keep learning about how you can live a life more connected with creation.

Fáilte!

Brett Garland, Burren Study Week Participant

“Failte” (pronounced “FALL-chah”) is the Irish word for welcome, but for me it has come to symbolize my experience of the Irish people.

When I landed in Dublin Airport, I was met by Elizabeth McArdle, an associate of the Columbans here in Ireland.  As soon as she discovered that I was the young American that she had been sent to pick up, she greeted me with three simple words: “You are welcome.”  It sounds a bit strange in American English because of its similarity to our response to a gracious remark, but for the Irish it’s a heartfelt greeting that really has substance.  In other words, the Irish don’t leave the “welcome” at the doormat.  Read more.

Tracey’s intro: Appreciating God’s Creation

Tracey Horan, Burren Study Week Participant

For two weeks this summer, Columbans who work on justice and peace issues from around the world will gather in Ireland, at the Burren in County Clare. While there, they will study the unique geology, plant and animal life in the region, as well as the human connections with it. Participants will spend time in lectures and field studies to fully experience the ecology of the Burren. They will also take part in group discussions and brainstorming sessions about current JPIC issues. Representing the U.S. region at this gathering will be two young adults: Brett Garland, a student at the Catholic University of America, and a former Columban intern, and Tracey Horan, a teacher in an El Paso school. Read more.

Visit the Faith & Ecology Blog to read more from Brett and Tracey, and visit our website to learn more about how Columbans view environmental justice. As St. Columban said, “To know the Creator, know creation.” Let us all take the example set by St. Columban and make an effort to live our lives more aware of how we fit into God’s creation.