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Catholic church touts solar panels, says it's powered by the Son and sun


Solar panels reside on a parking canopy at the Carmelite residence near Salpointe High School in Tucson, Ariz. (CNS photo/Michael Brown, Catholic Outlook)

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TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) -- The sign outside Our Mother of Sorrows Parish office reads: "OMOS gets its Power from the sun/Son."

And it means exactly what it says, said pastor Msgr. Thomas F. Cahalane.

"The reality is that God in creation is all around us. Creation is God's gift, and it is given in great abundance," he told Catholic Outlook, the newspaper of the Tucson Diocese. "The Gospel calls us to share it with the community and to be a conveyor of God's love."

In 2008, the parish began a long foray into solar power, spurred by its Care for Creation committee, which included architect Hank Krzysik.

Krzysik had just returned from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a meeting on the use of alternative energy. He was sitting around a table at Joe's Pancake House with Msgr. Cahalane and others. He was excited about making the parish more energy efficient. That led, a year later, to the installation of several solar panels and replacement of a water heater, making the parish hall more energy efficient.

The parish hall project was a success and in 2011, Krzysik and other members of the Care for Creation committee were making their case that the parish could significantly reduce its carbon footprint -- and ensure long-term savings -- by adding 250 more panels to the parish plant.

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