Rural parish reveals impact of water crisis
The impact of the water crisis affecting people in rural areas was a topic for much discussion and prayer when the Archdiocesan team visited the Murray Bridge parish this month.
During the ‘long day’ on October 15, Deacon Tim Grauel and acting Chancellor Sarah Moffatt met with the Mannum Mass community – a small welcoming group deeply connected to their faith, living it out practically in every aspect of their lives.
Parishioners shared they are deeply committed to ecumenism and there are many inter-church activities and gatherings, especially at significant times of the year such as Easter and Christmas.
Of particular concern to Mannum parishioners was how ‘city dwellers’ understand and appreciate the water crisis affecting those living in this part of the State.
“The small community is starkly aware of the impact lack of water has on people’s lives and sometimes this has resulted in people taking their own lives in desperation,” Ms Moffatt said.
“A few shared that they are directly affected by the lack of water for their own crops and farms and believe it’s an important issue for others to be aware of.
“As some told us, there is not an endless supply of water and while we’ve had statewide restrictions in the past, we don’t need to wait until they are enforced again to take action. We can adjust the way we each live, beginning today.”
Ms Moffatt added that the conversations during the day reminded everyone of Pope Francis’ call to action and ‘care for our common home’ in his encyclical Laudato Si’.
“He invites and challenges us to be ‘protectors of creation, protectors of God’s inscribe in nature, protectors of one another and the environment’,” she said.
The students of St Joseph’s School at Murray Bridge have been proactive in answering the Pope’s call to action. They have created an environmental charter which they proudly presented to the visitation team during their tour of the school.
Inspired by the students, the visitation team reflected on everyday actions people could commit to and stand in solidarity with those experiencing lack of water. Such actions include: taking shorter showers (less than four minutes); turning the water off while brushing teeth; putting a bucket in the shower and using the water for plants; fixing leaking taps; installing water efficient plumbing fixtures and rainwater tanks; running your dishwasher or washing machine only when they are full; watering your garden after 6pm or before 10am, and cleaning hard surfaces with a broom rather than a hose.
Ms Moffatt said the Archdiocesan team recognised the need for “building community” and “opening up” to those around you.
“If you or anyone you know is in a situation where it might help to talk to a professional, please do so.”
Support is available at: MensLine Australia 1300 789 978; Lifeline Australia 13 11 14; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Centacare Catholic Family Services 8215 6700.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in Australia is dedicating the month of November as a time to pray for those affected by crippling drought conditions and to pray for the gift of rain.
Parishes, schools, families and other Catholic communities across the country are being encouraged to participate in the National Prayer Campaign for Drought, which also invites people to provide assistance to those most in need.
Prayer resources are available at www.catholic.org.au/drought.
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