Reaching Out – Cleaning Up
Contributed by Catherine Jarvis & Ana Carina Fratta, Public Affairs, Montreal Quebec Mount Royal Stake
“What is faith if it is not translated into action?”
– Mahatma Gandhi
On May 21st, LDS Church members from the Montreal region joined forces with event organizers two other faiths and an environmental organization to participate in the 2nd Annual Interfaith Eco-Action Day. The other faith groups were from the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Montreal, a not-for-profit corporation founded in 2011 to build and strengthen mutual understanding and support between Christian and Jewish communities, and the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism which is dedicated to promoting ecumenical and interfaith dialogues and conversations. The participating environmental group Eco-quartier Peter–McGill, founded in 1997 and serving the municipal district in the heart of Montreal, is part of an organization of community action, initiative, awareness and environmental accountability focusing on management of solid waste, cleanliness, beautification and greening. Supported by these organizations, volunteers representing many faith groups, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Unitarian and Aboriginal, came together to put their faith in action.
More than 150 volunteers gathered on a warm and sunny morning to clean and beautify Montreal’s Shaughnessy Village, a neighbourhood that is the most densely-populated area of Quebec with its large number of high-rise apartments and many university students from nearby Concordia University. With the intention of making a difference in the neighbourhood, multi-faith teams worked together to beautify the area by collecting garbage while separating recyclable and non-recyclable trash.
Special invitees at the event included Marc Garneau, Canada’s first space astronaut and current Member of Parliament for the riding of Westmount-Ville Marie, and Dr. Victor Goldbloom, President of the Christian–Jewish Dialogue of Montreal and former Quebec Minister for the Environment. Mr. Garneau underscored the importance of caring for our planet and contributing to the good of the community despite the hectic pace of life. Dr. Goldbloom expressed his hope that Eco-Action Days continue in the years to come and remarked that these events bring members of different faiths together for the benefit of all.
The event concluded with participants enjoying the live music of Yaacov Sassi, a local Jewish folk singer and musician, and joining in an interactive percussion workshop by Leo Brooks, an Ottawa hand-drum musician. Prizes were given out to the teams that collected the largest quantity of trash, as well as to the person who discovered the most unusual item. Special recognition was given to the City of Montreal for providing the clean up supplies and t-shirts.