As Barbara O’Brien from the Buffalo News pointed out, “you don’t usually think of Earth Day as a cause for religious observance.” Yet, there we were at Penn Dixie — on a chilly Saturday in April — hosting an interfaith ceremony to honor water, our planet’s unique and occasionally overlooked natural resource.
The program was comprised of prayers, discussions of the water and conservation themes, and tours of Penn Dixie’s nature trails and fossil quarry. Perhaps expectedly, we talked about geological history and how Earth’s water has been recycled across eons by countless organisms, including trilobites. Today, our water is threatened by overpopulation and contamination — a threat which affects biodiversity in ecosystems as well as the underprivledged people of the world. Still, we are encouraged by positive attitudes and the williningness of humanity to act as one to develop innovative and effective solutions.
We thank the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Great Lakes Beach Sweep, and the individual leaders of faith who participated in the program: Sr. Eileen O’Connor, Bhante Revata, Fr. Jud Weiksnar, Dr. Dilip Sinha, Dr. Othman Shibly, Sr. Jean Sliwinski, CSSF, and Judy Fitzgerald Dolan.
For those who could not attend, here’s a digital copy of the program: In Praise of the Gift of Water 2016. Additional informant can be found on the Franciscan Sisters’ website.