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From The Monterey Herald:
Our Lady of the Assumption Church is so small parishioners overflow into the halls and courtyard during Sunday Mass. Despite being relegated to narrow side rooms, the flock can still hear the reading of the scriptures and the sermon through speakers. The choral voices come through distinctly as they sing “Señor, has venido a la orilla,” — Lord, you have come to the seashore. The sound is also clear when, at the end of Mass, just before attendants head out the door, an organizer with the Romero Institute takes the microphone. “You all know that Pope Francis has spoken very strongly about climate change,” Margaret Rebecchi says in Spanish. “Last year he published an encyclical called Laudato Si to explain that global warming is one of the biggest threats to the human family. He’s inviting us to have an ecological conversation and to take care of the planet, our home.” In less than six minutes, Rebecchi explains to the congregation the work she’s doing on behalf of the environment, including promoting a program to help all the churches in the Monterey Diocese install solar panels, which would help save $10 million in 10 years. She also gives a quick overview of a complicated initiative that’s been the subject of much debate among government officials in three Central Coast counties: Monterey Bay Community Power, an effort to create an agency to provide electricity to all residents of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties. “This governmental program would double the amount of renewable energy in the county only in the first year,” she tells the congregation. “It would establish a nonprofit agency that would sell electricity for the same amount or less than what we pay PG&E. The sale of electricity would remain in our hands and the profits would be used to create renewable energy projects like wind farms.”