Sunlight is free and enlightening, and so are the events happening on April 22 at St. Pius X Catholic Church (SPX) in Granger, IN. The church celebrates Earth Day 2017 with a unique presentation for homeowners and a slew of family activities that embrace creation and advocate for stewardship of natural resources. The Earth Day celebration at St. Pius X is one response by the parish's Creation Care Team to Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, which calls for care of our common home.
Homeowner Walks the Walk
The Earth Day events begin with a presentation about homeowner tips for saving energy by guest speaker Dave Warkentien from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Parish Education Center (PEC) library. And this isn't just lip service about how to reduce your footprint. As the owner of a zero carbon emissions house in Mishawaka, IN, Warkentien can answer your questions about the practicalities of implementing energy-saving technologies in our local community.
SPX Creation Care Team member John Gensic writes, "Dave Warkentien will address the engineering, design, and building of his home to be self-sustaining in terms of energy use. He will share the technologies, appliances, and other built-features that make his home provide a net return of power to the grid. While some ideas for energy efficiency are interesting in theory, Dave has the practical experience of putting many of them into use in his own home (from phase change insulation to specialty energy saving windows and doors). He knows the energy calculations and dollar savings of the technologies in his home and is willing to share."
Dave Emery will follow with an eye-opening demonstration of how much of earth's water is consumable, and Nick Watkins will introduce additional action items.
Family Time for Earth
After the 5:00 p.m. mass is an ice cream social for families. Kids can decorate light switch plates; compare the emissions of a Tesla or Leaf (the Pope's car) to a regular car using a carbon monoxide tester; get a free pair of solar shades and learn about the 2017 solar eclipse; take the St. Francis Pledge, and more. And, of course, there will be ice cream!
At one activity station in the SPX gym after the 5:00 PM mass you can go under a large orange box and make a solargraph in a darkened space. SPX students Ruth and Layne, who have placed solargraphs around St. Pius X, will guide you in securing photographic paper to the inside of an aluminum can and finishing the pinhole camera with duct tape. You then take your solargraph can home and mount it outside facing south. Limit is one solargraph per family while supplies last.
The students will also unveil their new solargraph image that shows the sun's path from late February 2017, when they secured it to a pole on SR23, through the March 25 dedication of the new St. Pius X Church. The church tower appears in silhouette (it's pre-equinox, before the sun started shining on the north face) with the sun arcing intermittently across the background sky. Very cool, and you can make one, too.
In Laudato Si', Pope Francis writes, "Much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include ...encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution." (par 180) With its newly constructed church, St. Pius X presents a model for energy efficiency in the built environment. After the 5:00 p.m. mass on Saturday, April 22, you can also join a guided tour of the new church to learn about state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems.
St. Pius X embraces Earth Day because the church sees stewardship of our earthly resources as honoring the gifts of a creator. The public is welcome to join the celebration of Earth Day as the parish strives to present practical, realistic measures to lessen our carbon footprint.