Archdiocese Uses Solar Panels to Protect Environment

Tags: Currents Archdiocese of New York, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Catholic Schools, Environment, Laudato Si, New York City

By Tim Harfmann

Monsignor Peter Finn is the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Staten Island, and he’s part of a new program to help protect the environment.

Monsignor had rooftop solar panels installed on the church and the parish’s catholic school as a way to promote Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si.

“The educational information will enlighten people to be more and more careful about how they use God’s resources,” said Monsignor Finn.

Blessed Sacrament is one of five parishes in Staten Island and Yonkers to have the panels installed. Nearly 1,7000 panels will generate enough electricity to supply almost half of the power needed to run the parishes. The panel installation is part of a collaboration between the Archdiocese of New York and Con Edison Solutions.

“It’s a perfect example of how we each need to do our own part in taking care of the environment. In this case, reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing the carbon footprint, taking advantage of renewable energy,” said Marty Susz, director of energy management for the archdiocese.

“You look at what the Church represents. It’s a 2,000-year institution and they’re all about eternity. If you want to talk about eternity, you’re talking about preserving the planet for future generations,” said Michael Perna, vice president of marketing and business development for Con Edison Solutions.

There’s also a teaching moment in this conversion. Students at Blessed Sacrament’s Catholic school will learn about the project. “Kids will see that we are taking part in saving energy, and that will inspire them to try and help to save energy, too,” said Victoria Doherty-Jarvis. She’s an eighth grader at the Staten Island school.

The archdiocese looks to expand the program to other schools and even cemeteries.