Diocese of Westminster installs new facilities for cyclists

 Bishop John Arnold, with diocesan staff Pavol Ivanko, Mathew D'Souza, Charles Donnington with new cycle racks.

Bishop John Arnold, with diocesan staff Pavol Ivanko, Mathew D'Souza, Charles Donnington with new cycle racks.

Cycling at the Diocese of Westminster's central offices in Victoria, London SW1 has become easier with the installation of ten secure bike racks and the provision of showers and lockers for cyclists. Training is also available for new cyclists to ensure that they stay safe on London's busy roads. Funding for the project has been provided by Westminster City Council.

The cycling scheme is one of a number of environment friendly initiatives being taken by the diocese. These include the piloting of guidelines for 'greening' parishes which have been produced by the diocese's Justice and Peace Commission.

The aim is to spread the message that our lifestyles, whether at home, in church, or in the wider world, influence the environment, and that our respectful and careful stewardship is vital.

Green parishes

The piloting of green parish guidelines, which will run through to the end of August 2011, will involve Barnet, Commercial Road, Ealing, Kentish Town, Northwood, Pimlico,  Potters Bar, Stamford Hill, St Albans South  and West Green parishes. They will try out a number of actions including auditing their carbon footprint and energy use; emphasising the wonder of creation and our dependence on it in prayer; garden or tree planting and recycling a variety of items including paper andcandle-wax.

The environment: 'God's gift to all people'

Auxiliary Bishop John Arnold said:  "Encouraging cycling is a way in which we can reduce our carbon footprint. The provision of cycle racks and proper changing facilities will make it possible for more people to cycle to work and to use cycles to get around central London."

"In his Message for World Peace Day in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI eloquently reminded us that care for God's creation is something we all need to make manifest in our lives saying:  'The environment must be seen as God's gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations' ".

"As Catholics, we are called to celebrate and live out the Eucharist as stewards of creation. The piloting of a series of guidelines for 'greening' our parishes will  encourage priests and people of our diocese to work out how to best express our care for creation in practical ways and ensure that care for the environment features in our prayer and liturgy."

Reducing carbon footprint

Mathew D'Souza, Office Manager at the diocese's Agency for Evangelisation, who has project managed the cycling initiative, said: "The Diocese of Westminster's central offices have been working in partnership with CEN (Creative Environmental Networks) and with the North Central Travelplan Network, under whose guidance we have implemented a cycle to work scheme. This is one of a number of initiatives we are undertaking to promote the wellbeing of staff, reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the resources we use. "

Archbishop Vincent Nichols is a keen cyclist. When he was Archbishop of Birmingham he took part in a marathon cycle ride around the diocese.


God and Creator of beauty,
Majesty and mystery,
We thank you for the gift of our life,
And for all life in creation.
Teach us what it means to be human
And keep us ever aware of the
Privilege and challenge of responsible stewardship.
Show us how to care for the Earth, our home.
Grant us conviction and humility in this
Sacred undertaking.

Source: Archbishops' House

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