Mass in Nature

June 3, 2024

A group of students and others from Holy Name Church celebrated a mass in nature at Wardley Hall in Salford.

They were led by Fr Dushan Croos, an expert in ecological conversion. The mass took place in the Laudato Si Centre, a project set up to help the Church in the Diocese of Salford to live more sustainably. In the leafy setting of a woodland glade the students prayed in harmony with creation. During the liturgy, sunlight poured onto the face of Fr Dushan as he preached about the need to recover the delicate balance between human beings and the natural world. The Eucharist, he said, can be a locus for our recovery of this harmony. As the birds sang in the surrounding trees the students were reminded of the dignity of their interconnectedness.

The Fr Dushan Croos, the Jesuit Chaplain in Manchester, has encouraged a number of existing initiatives at the chaplaincy to help students to connect with the natural environment. These have included a regular litter picking activity, the fortnightly walks in nature and preaching on the theme of ecology. He is hoping to develop the garden at the back of the Church as a space for students to enjoy nature, many of whom yearn for it in the urban cityscape of Manchester.

The Laudato Si centre was set up by the Bishop John Arnold of the Diocese of Salford. The house at Wardley Hall was granted to the diocese over a century ago on condition that it was used as the bishop’s residence. After Pope Francis’ call to reconsider our relationship with the natural environment, the bishop decided to devote some of the land belonging to this beautiful medieval residence as a centre for ecology. He regularly invites schools and parishes to come and visit the centre. They can also receive expert advice about growing in ecological sustainability. The students were also able to make a tour of the centre and discover ways in which they themselves could live more sustainably.

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