If we see water as a gift from God, caring for the waters of the earth is an obvious response.
The parishes of the pastoral area have launched the Porirua Holy Water Project to raise awareness of the situation of the waters of the area.
In launching the project on Plimmerton beach on Sunday afternoon, March 27, Mgr Gerard Burns told the around 60 people present water was often wasted or used with little consideration of the environmental effects. Water, like the earth, is a gift from God and should not be taken for granted, he said. This day is about starting the project to take better care of the waters of the Porirua basin.The parishes cluster around the Porirua harbour and there are several rivers, streams and wetlands central to life in each parish.
‘We are created in the image of God. God continues to care for us through the created world: the air, food from the earth, water, etc. The best way to honour these gifts is by sharing in the care of what God has made. The five parishes of the Porirua pastoral area have chosen one way of honouring the gift of creation.’
Those gathered with representatives of the parishes and schools of the area included people from groups already engaged in water-care around the harbour. These included community groups and Wellington Regional Councillor Jenny Brash.
The day had been chosen because of the proximity to World Water Day on March 22 and the Sunday gospel story of the woman at the well.
Despite a torrential downpour two hours before earlier, the ceremony on the beach was held in bright sunshine. Mgr Burns reminded those gathered of the Christian community’s use of water to mark the official beginning of Christian life: the waters of Baptism. ‘If all life on earth was born out of water, if we are born through the waters of our mothers’ wombs and re-born in Baptism, then there is an obvious faith-connection here. If we are to be faithful to our baptism then to care for all the water God has given us is a clear step.’
A group of people from the pastoral area worked on educational materials for the schools and parishes. During the week before the launch the five schools of the area explored the streams and waterways. The children discussed the importance of these and looked for ways of being good stewards of these waters – keeping them clean, enjoying what is in their backyard.
The children also made posters for a commitment ceremony in each parish at the Sunday Masses pledging each parish to care for the waters of the Porirua basin.
A local organisation, Pauatahanui Inlet Community Trust has been making a series of DVDs about the harbour called ‘Living Water’. The trust gave each school a copy to help with the children’s understanding.
As well everyone received a prayer card on the theme of water. Each time a baby is baptised in the Porirua pastoral area, its parents will receive a prayer card to keep alive the connection between our waters and our faith. The cards also have some hints about how to care for water.
Representatives of these community groups spoke at the launch of their work and it is with the help of these groups that parishioners of the area will engage in nurturing the gift of water.
See also: Protecting the planet