As a Catholic Church in Amsterdam’s inner city, what are we doing for the environment? Added up, we come up with a lot of initiatives.
OUR BUILDINGS: You will have noticed: heating has been off since March. The stove in the church has not been burning for six months. We will heat modestly on weekends if it gets even colder, only during celebrations.
The rectory has double-glazed windows in most rooms since the 2000 remodel. The large coffee room is the exception: it is used infrequently and faces a sheltered courtyard. Everywhere else is double-glazed, which is very complicated in a national monument. There is still something to be gained from better insulation of the floors. Radiator foil has been installed in a few places near the exterior walls.
The church is a beautiful neo-Gothic national monument, very difficult to heat and light. Our energy bill went down when LED lights were installed everywhere a few years ago. With so many square meters of glass and so many old doors, constant drafts cannot be avoided. And then there are the (open) facilities to drain condensation from the windows….
ECOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY: From the rectory of the Cretaceous Mountain, the Jesuits work. Fr. Ben Frie has been editor of Igniswebmagazine from its inception in 2010. There is a separate section there for articles on ecology https://igniswebmagazine.nl/ecologie/. Jan Stuyt wrote a decade ago about the Church’s vocation to be green: https://igniswebmagazine.nl/kerk/een-groene-kerk/. Father Walter Ceyssens of Leuven leads retreats on ecology and faith with some regularity.
In the world Church, Pope Francis has written an impassioned plea for the preservation of the earth – our common home – with the encyclical Laudato Si. Father Ward Biemans of Cretaceous Mountain wrote a retreat to accompany it: https://www.jezuieten.org/nieuws/op-retraite-tijdens-de-laudato-si-week/. This retreat fits into the offerings of Praying On the Way, where Father Nicholas Sintobin is one of the driving forces.
For several years the Alliance Laudato-Si Netherlands has existed, which received a strong impetus this summer. It is the center for ecological activities of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands, supported by the Conference of Dutch Religious. All the information is on their website https://laudato-si.nl/.