The illuminated rosary hanging in Villa Vieja, Espiritu Santo, Brazil

Catholics in Brazil celebrated Laudato Si’ Week by making a large illuminated rosary out of plastic bottles. This happened in the state of Espiritu Santo, more precisely in the Good Shepherd parish of Villa Vieja.

With the “Plastic Free Oceans” slogan, the parish community joined the Canadian NGO PlasticBank to fight against plastic pollution and care for our common home.

Each month the parish collects more than 20,000 plastic bottles for recycling. On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si’, in order to unite action with prayer, they had the initiative to make this giant rosary, with 5-liter and 2-liter PET bottles, in which they placed lights inside.

“Look how perfect, all made with great care in honor of the Virgin, so that she may continue to protect us with her mantle in this difficult moment of our lives,” they said.

With the rosary finished, they called the parish community to pray it on several days of Laudato Si’ Week: “We will celebrate with the Virgin, our Mother, the fruits of the Plastic Free Oceans project, with a beautiful prayer of the rosary”.

The goal of the project was to raise awareness throughout the community about the problem of plastic in the oceans and to encourage neighbors to reduce their plastic consumption, and to recycle.

The monthly plastic collected in Good Shepherd Parish is sold to a local recycling company. The proceeds are used by the parish to fund social programs, which are crucial as more and more people struggle with poverty due to the pandemic.

PlasticBank is working with 17 parishes in Brazil and 3 in the Philippines to be stewards of the Earth and put an end to plastic in the oceans.