Friday, September 18, 2015

Serving with Francis, Heeding his Words

Pope Francis is coming to DC in a few days, and its kind of big deal.  The new pontiff's inclusive, nonjudgmental tone  has energized  American Catholics after a decade of child sex abuse scandals and declining church attendance.  

As the 2016 election season heats up, Liberals are eager for Francis to speak boldly on immigration, income inequality, and the environment. Conservatives, though increasingly uneasy with what they see as his leftward bent, are still counting on Francis to stick with them in opposing abortion, birth control and same sex marriage. 

Francis caused a stir in June with the long awaited publication of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, in which he write, "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish." 

In anticipation of the Pope's visit, the Archdioceses of Washington launched Walk with Francis to encourage 
Washingtonians to  welcome the Pope by following his examples of prayer and service. 

On Sunday, September 13, 50 students from Catholic University of America heeded the words of  Laudato Si quite literally, removing over a thousands pounds of"filth"and "rubbish" from the " beautiful landscape" of Shepherd Parkway. 

The hillside along Lebaum Street has long been one of the most polluted areas of Shepherd Parkway, and we've focused more time there than anywhere else over the past four years. It is also one of the steepest, most treacherous areas to work, but the CUA students scaled the incline fearlessly. 

At the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway, being "protectors of God's creation" is what we are all about. We pray that the Pope's historic visit to the United States will inspire many others to take up the call.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

There's a New Time for Everything

Most of those who come to our community clean-ups work 40 hours a week or more, and Saturday is often the only they get to sleep in. Ten in the morning is perfect for some, but a challenge for the Friday night partiers and those trying to catch up on sleep.  

I've also noticed that, given the physical demands of working in the park, three hours is a long time to expect people to keep at it. I've noticed a lot of people coming late and leaving early. 

So we've decided that for the rest of 2015, our community clean-ups will run from 11 am to 1 pm instead of 10 am to 1 pm. We hope that this change will enhance both our numbers and the experience of those who attend.   

If you have questions or comments about the change, feel free to email me at nbharrington at

We hope to see you next Saturday, September 12 at 11 am!