At 11am this morning, the Environmental Group of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour planted a new oak tree at the Three Corner Rec on Marsh Lane, in conjunction with Amber Valley Borough Council. The AVBC Environmental Officer Ross Pearson helped the group to choose the site and was involved in the planting. AVBC will maintain the health of the new oak tree.
Back in May, Pope Francis published Laudato Si’ (translation: Praise be to you). An Encyclical (letter on Catholic doctrine addressed to the hierarchy of priests) letter “on care for our common home” urging the world, and especially Catholics, to take greater care in looking after our world and to work to combat climate change. The letter can be viewed on the Vatican website here.
Pope Francis stated that “Nothing is indifferent to us” and that we have “no right to ignore” our impact or responsibility to the natural world. The environmental group of Belper’s Catholic church took this message deeply to heart and chose the strength and symbolism of the oak tree, long lived, hardy and rich in our culture to stand as a symbol of their commitment to this cause and this planet.
The oak stands to encourage others to get involved and take their own care of our shared home.
The environmental group is also applying, through Cafod for a Live Simply award for their environmental endeavours. They are prompting others to reduce waste, live a greener life and reduce our carbon footprints. They have plans afoot for reaching out to poorer communities and to other countries and intend to plant a wild flower garden with a meditation and prayer area within the church grounds and are already talking with Transition Belper about how they can be involved with Transition’s eco-agenda.
Our Lady’s Environmental Group was also involved in the Candlelit Vigil for Paris and was part of a global Cafod petition to put pressure on world leaders to make big commitments to combat climate change.
Once the oak tree was planted in its new home, there were two readings. The first was from the Torah:
An old man was planting a tree, when a young person passed by and asked, “What are you planting?”
“A carob tree,” the old man replied.
“That’s foolish,” said the youth. “Don’t you know that it takes 70 years for a carob tree to bear fruit?”
“That’s okay,” said the old man. “Just as others planted for me, I am planting for future generations.”
The Second reading was a prayer included in Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis (246):
A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
The message from our new oak is Act Locally, Think Globally.