Jerry Grondin
Jerry Grondin
In 2001, Canadian and U.S. Catholic bishops from the Columbia River Watershed issued a pastoral letter. The bishops were concerned about social, economic and ecological conditions along the great waterway, especially conflicts between users like farmers, fishers, native tribes, power generators, barge operators and outdoor enthusiasts. The situation was full of moral implications and still is, says Jerry Grondin, a hydrogeologist in formation for the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of Portland.

Grondin, who was a consultant on the 2001 pastoral, will lead a workshop on why the letter still matters, even as new issues have arisen. The session is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at St. Francis Parish in Sherwood, 15651 SW Oregon St.

"The bishops hope the letter will help everyone work together to develop and implement an integrated spiritual, social, and ecologic vision for the watershed," says Grondin. "The pastoral letter calls us to contemplate God and to think of our neighbor’s needs, our neighbor in the broadest sense — our human and ecological neighbors."

The pastoral aimed to offer a Catholic perspective, supporting both justice for people and stewardship for creation.

The workshop will present experiences of the watershed and a faith-based reflection. Grondin will then help parishioners, lay ministers, religious and clergy discern a way to respond to the bishops' call and implement the letter.  

Grondin says the three most recent popes have noted the relationship between human crises and ecological crises.

Snacks, beverages and lunch will be provided. To RSVP, send an email to [email protected] or call (503) 625-6185.