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By Elena Macias

On Sept. 16 parishioners from The Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Redlands gathered to clean up a local section of the Santa Ana Riverbed in honor of the Season of Creation. Their efforts are a way of helping to keep world oceans cleaner by preventing trash from traveling via the river to its meeting point with the Pacific, near Newport and Huntington beaches.

“The volunteers’ efforts also make the area a little better for local flora and fauna in the riverbed, and for some of our human brothers and sisters who have come to live there, for various reasons,” said Marilyn Knott, Creation Care Ministry member at The Holy Name of Jesus.

The 41 volunteers spent two hours removing trash and other items from the riverbed including a wrapped CRT television, mattresses, leftovers from picnics and encampments, and 38 grocery carts.

Before getting started, the volunteers prayed and reflected on God’s Creation, and the interconnectedness with every person and everything associated with the Santa Ana River.

“From its source in the San Bernardino Mountains, to the communities it runs through in the Inland Empire and Orange County, right to the Pacific Ocean, the river connects us with human brothers and sisters, with all of the plant and wildlife between here and there, and with everything in the ocean that is affected by the river’s condition,” Knott said. “After considering all of that, we got to work!”

The coastal clean-up was done in honor of the Season of Creation, which takes place every year the from September 1, which is the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’’ and ends on October 4, which is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the ecology and animals. The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and His creation through prayer and action for our common home.

This year’s theme was “Let Justice and Peace Flow’’ and the symbol was “A Mighty River.” The volunteers who helped make a cleaner Santa Ana River proved one small way of helping justice and peace flow, by restoring living conditions for all that rely on it.

If you would like to volunteer with The Holy Name of Jesus Creation Care ministry, please mark your calendars for the following Saturday events, where they will help with natural habitat restoration in San Timoteo Canyon:
October 21st, 9:45 a.m. – noon; November 18th, 9:45 a.m. – noon; January 6th, 11:45 a.m. – 2 pm; February 10th, 11:45 a.m. – 2 pm; March 23rd, 9:45 a.m. – noon. Please visit their parish website for more information.

Elena Macias is the Managing Editor of the Inland Catholic BYTE.