Optional Member Code

Our Lady of the Lake Parish Holds “Care for God’s Creation” Event

This article was written by Zuzka Mulkerin, organizer for the Care for God’s Creation Ministry at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Sparta, NJ 

Taking up the challenge issued by Pope Francis in his Laudato Si encyclical, several ministries of Our Lady of the Lake Church joined forces on April 22 to present a parish-wide event honoring the beauty of God’s creation, and the need to protect it.      

At a well-attended breakfast prepared by the Knights of Columbus Marquette Council #588, after two Masses, children and their families were able to view the 95 entries to the poster contest which was announced last January. Father David McDonnell opened the event with a prayer from Laudato Si'. Residents of the Department for Persons with Disabilities were invited to share the day and participate with the children in a variety of activities including planting seedlings, painting rocks for the new Children’s Garden in the parish, upcycling t-shirts, learning how to sew and mend clothing,  sorting recycling, and taking the “Garbage Island Challenge Quiz.”              

First, second, third and honorable mention prizes of Care for Creation t-shirts were awarded in each of the categories of Elementary, Middle, High School and digital art posters, and winners were able to explain their poster concepts.  There was a grand prize of $100.  Participants included public school students enrolled at CCD religious classes in the parish along with students from Reverend Brown Elementary School and Pope John XXIII
Middle and High School.            

“The pope has observed that we have become a throw-away society,” said Zuzka Mulkerin, Chair of Care for God’s Creation Ministry.  “God gave us everything we need, but with the ongoing carbon footprint, this world would need two planets Earth. The pope is calling us to moderate consumption and to realize that the earth is a gift, and every person is a gift.”             

Other ministries on hand to help were CCD teachers, the Respect Life Committee and the Legion of Mary. Families of the students, Reverend Brown School and Pope John teachers were instrumental in inspiring their students to contribute.             

Attendees were encouraged to sign letters asking schools and towns to install easy filling water stations at schools for children to refill a reusable container to avoid the need for plastic water bottles. Such stations would update and improve the existing water fountains that are often malfunctioning.  Another set of letters encouraged towns and schools to establish community-based composting for proper disposal of residential organics, school lunch leftovers and other compostable materials.    

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Gen 1:31” headlined a brightly colored picture of the earth, by 1st place elementary school winner Vanessa Spatolo.  “Let’s do our part to keep it that way!”

To view some of the winning poster contest entries, visit Pope John XIII Middle and High School's Facebook page