Get Started in your Parish

When we consider the enormous ecological and social challenges our world is facing today, it can be hard to imagine the difference we can make in our own corner of creation. However, Pope Francis continually reminds us that by working together, each one of our small acts contributes to a global movement that can create real change.

Inspired by this sense of hope, we have pulled together one or two steps to help you get started in your parish, as well as some key resources to inspire you along the way.

As always, everything we do must be rooted in prayer and our environmental action is no different.

Before you begin the process of beginning your project, we encourage you to spend time in prayer – perhaps even outdoors – to help focus your mind on how God might be calling you to respond.

Click here to download our diocesan Prayer for our Common Home or view below:

Text saying: All powerful God, you created all things, and you are present throughout the universe and in every creature, You embrace with your tender love all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, so that we may have the strength and courage to protect all life and the beauty of our world, preserving it from pollution and destruction. Fill us with your peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one, And caring for the Earth, our common home. Teach us to discover the worth of every creature on this earth, Let us protect those at risk and in danger,   Encourage us as we seek justice, love and peace. Stay with us each day, with the power of your grace. Through Christ our Lord Amen


After getting the green light from your parish priest, the first thing to do is to consider the appetite for a new parish group or project.

Together with your fellow parishioners (either by gathering together a core group of parishioners, or perhaps by sharing a survey in the newsletter or on parish social media), consider the different groups and activities your parish already runs.

Is there time, space, appetite, and resource for a new focus? Or is there a way of weaving your environmental efforts into existing forums?

Once you’ve established the best way to proceed, your next step is to recruit volunteers. Beginning a new project is a wonderful way to engage with quieter members of the parish community and to bring new faces and fresh ideas into your parish volunteering team.

Don’t forget to:

  • Ask your parish priest if you could make an announcement after Mass;
  • Add a notice in your parish newsletter, on the website, and on social media;
  • Ask your parish priest if you could display a notice in the church porch;
  • Ask you parish schools to share the recruitment call across their channels
  • Ask people! Quite often, new volunteers will be hesitant to come forward as they may think there are sufficient or willing volunteers already at work. Perhaps they just need a little encouragement? Don’t be afraid to begin conversations, to ask people if they would be interested in joining that – or any other group – or if they know anyone who might be able to help.

Once you have your initial group of volunteers, that is the time to discuss what it is you want to achieve and how best to do that.

A good place to start is by taking inspiration from other parishes across our diocese and beyond. To help you, we’ve pulled together a handful of case studies from parishes that have been running some incredible environmental projects over the past years.

Click below to read case studies from parishes across the diocese.

Case studies of environmental work in our parishes

The Key to Success

However, it is also vital to remember that our diocese is one of wonderful variety, and no two parishes are the same. A project that worked well for one parish might not be right for yours. But a project that didn’t quite work out elsewhere might be ideal for your parish community.

The key to success is to figure out what engages your fellow parishioners; what resources, time, and space you have; and how this might open up avenues to create real impact to our planet and our brothers and sisters at home and around the world.

Questions to consider:

  • What is it you’re trying to achieve? Do you want to take practical action to care for our common home? Do you want to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need? Is it a case of sharing the message of Laudato Si’? Are you simply trying to build up the sense of community in your parish? It’s important to be clear about your objectives before you begin to discuss different events and activities.
  • What parish groups are currently running or have run in the past? What has worked? What hasn’t?
  • What time, space, and resource is available to you?
  • What charities does the parish currently support? Is there a gap anywhere (domestic social action, overseas social action, environmental causes etc)?
  • Is there a particular cause or issue that is relevant to your parish community? Care for creation, homelessness, poverty, welcoming refugees, mental or spiritual wellbeing, dignity of life, etc. How can your group respond to these needs? How does Catholic Social Teaching and the message of Laudato Si’ tie into this mission?
  • How do we use this to proclaim the Gospel message to people in our pews and beyond?

Once you’ve established the mission of your new parish group and created a thought-out plan, the next stage is to get to work!

Often it can be wise to start small and to gradually introduce a theme or a project over time. The lives of our parishioners can be extremely hectic, so it can take many repeated messages for people to find about any new initiatives.

Whether you’re starting small or plunging straight into the deep end, we’ve pulled together one or two suggestions of activities you might like to consider:

Starting Small

  • Tip of the month: The parish newsletter is always your friend! Why not ask your parish priest if you could include an environmental tip of the month in the newsletter – and on social media, if you have it. Don’t forget to present this alongside our diocesan Prayer for our Common Home to remind people that our environmental actions are rooted in faith!
  • Share the message: It’s important to remember that not every parishioner might be up to speed with the latest messages from the Church on our ecological crisis. Why not provide copies of Laudato Si’ at the back of church, or posters with QR codes to Laudato Si’ and our own Hearing the Cry document.
  • Look for key opportunities to bring our environmental emergencies into the prayers of our parish. Whether it’s Season of Creation, Laudato Si’ week, Lent, or political event such as COP, there a plenty of opportunities to share a prayer of intercession or a short talk to remind people of our mission.

Are there any practical steps you can to make your parish more environmentally friendly? Do you currently have coffee and tea after Mass? If so, are you using Fairtrade tea and coffee? Are you using plastic or paper cups and plates? Do you recycle in your parish? Does your cleaning team use natural-based, environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Stepping Up

Having established a culture of environmental awareness within your parish, the options to step up your environmental work becomes much more possible. Take a look below for one or two ideas you might like to try!

  • Organise a Parish Prayer Walk: This is a wonderful way to build a sense of community and to connect with the beauty of creation. Whether is a short prayer reflection in the grounds of your short, a short walk from the church to your parish school, or perhaps a more ambitious deanery or ecumenical walk, a Walk for Creation is a fantastic way to come together out of care for our common home. Take a look at a Parish Walk Guide to help you get started. Perhaps tie it in before or after Mass to encourage people to tag along.
  • Organise a screening of The Letter: In October 2022, Pope Francis released a powerful documentary on caring for our common home entitled The Letter. This thought-provoking watch addresses the devastating effects of our climate crisis, as well as the responsibility we have as stewards of creation to respond. It is available for free here. Why not host a screening in your parish or deanery – perhaps before or after Mass?
  • Create a calendar: Why not celebrate the beauty of your parish community by creating and selling a parish calendar. You could ask parishioners to submit photos to include and sell the calendars to raise funds for a particular charity or to support your own parish. Don’t forget! As always, it’s important to establish an appetite for this before you begin!
  • Provide resources and services to help families respond: It’s often hard for families and individuals to know where and how to begin tackling the climate crisis. Our parishes can help in a whole number of ways by signposting to key resources, such as our Gardening for Wildlife and Envirolent guides, or helping parishioners on their way. Perhaps you could provide a soft plastics bin at church to encourage people to recycle and to demonstrate the significant impact we can make when working together. You could even provide a list of local suppliers of locally-produced, organic food, or environmentally-friendly alternatives for Christmas gifts!
  • Organise a visit to our Laudato Si’ Centre to learn more about Pope Francis’ teachings, our role as Guardians of Creation, and what our parish communities can do to respond to our ecological crisis.

The Long Haul

By now, you should have created a vibrant parish response to our ecological crisis. Now is the time to think long-term and what lasting impact you can make as a parish community.

Larger projects are big commitments, and it’s important to be sure you have the network, time, and resources to dedicate to the project. Having said this, parishes across our diocese have reported incredible results, from winning North West in Bloom awards for parish gardens, producing and selling honey, serving the community through wonderful outreach projects, and helping people from across the world through refugee welcome programmes and providing overseas development support.

Here are one or two projects you might like to consider:

  • Creating a parish garden or outdoor space: Provide a place for people across the community to enjoy the beauty of creation in your parish grounds. Don’t forget to root this in faith by providing inspiration and opportunities for private and group prayer.
  • Establish a regular social outreach mission: This could be a collection for a foodbank, fundraising soup lunches, opportunities for refugees or those experiencing homelessness to pop in for a cup of tea and chat. Is there a way your parish could provide support for our brothers and sisters at home and around the world?
  • Celebrate the Fruits of Creation! Is there anything better than homegrown fruit or veg, or a homecooked meal? Our eating habits have a big impact on our carbon footprint but there are wonderful ways to make a big difference. Is there an opportunity to share homegrown produce in our parishes? Perhaps create a mini-market? Could you create a seasonal, vegetarian or vegan cookbook? Could we produce and sell products such as honey, jams, and preserves to raise funds for different causes or our parish community?
  • Cut the carbon: Another key consideration is travel. Is there an opportunity in our parishes to establish a carshare scheme, a walk to church/school scheme or competition, provision for cycle racks etc.


Laudato Si’

Hearing the Cry: Responding with Hope – Diocesan Environment Strategy

Parish Walk Guide

The Letter

Gardening for Wildlife



We hope these steps are helpful to you as you begin your own parish project! If you would like further guidance or support, please contact our environment team at

Don’t forget! We’re always delighted to hear news from our parishes and schools. Please do keep us in the loop with your parish activities by emailing

This beautiful Stations of the Cross in the garden at the parish of The Sacred Heart and St Francis of Assisi in Gorton offers opportunity for prayer and reflection amongst the beauty of nature