Lessons from the Garden
As a young man in Brazil, I lived on a farm, which is where my love of gardening began. My family often grew what we ate and even kept animals on our farm. I find great joy in cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting. It is not only therapeutic but has a spiritual aspect as well.
This year, unusually high late spring and summer temperatures and rain have led my vegetables to sprout much earlier than usual, as well as producing a sooner than expected crop, particularly my zucchini.
In late May, to help mark the conclusion of Laudato Si Week, the three parishes of the Catholic Community of Central Fall River created a garden outside of St. Mary’s Cathedral. As I mentioned in my blog about the event, Laudato Sí: On the Care of Our Common Home is the 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis in which he calls on the Church and the world to acknowledge the urgency of our environmental challenges and to join him in embarking on a new path.
Some of the students from St. Stanislaus School were involved in the care and planting of the garden and joined us on that beautiful Spring day for the Mass and blessing. Each of the planter’s boxes in the new garden was named for a saint. The students designated one of the boxes as the “Bishop’s Box” and named it for the patron saint of Brazil, Our Lady Aparecida. After the blessing, I was able to do some planting too.
In our baptism, the seed of faith was placed in our life and entrusted to the care of our parents and godparents. Even if you were baptized later in your life, there have been people there to help you nurture that seed of faith so that it may sprout and bear fruit. St. Paul shares his experience of helping to cultivate the faith of the early church in his letter to the Corinthians, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”
As I spend time in my garden, I am reminded of my ministry here in the Diocese of Fall River—to support clergy, parishes, and the faithful to germinate the seeds of faith planted in their hearts at baptism. Additionally, to prayerfully guide those who may yet have even begun to have the fertile soil of their hearts tilled to accept the seed of faith. This is also a place where I spend time lifting each of you and our diocese in prayer.
2021 FACE SUMMER GALA
The Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) will once again host an in-person FACE Summer Gala on Thursday, August 5, at The Coonamessett Inn in Falmouth. I am looking forward to attending this great evening of fantastic food, entertainment, and prizes that will help raise funds to support students in our Diocese’s Catholic schools.
Hosting again for another year is Emmy Award-winning radio and television personality Billy Costa, best known in this area for co-hosting “Dining Playbook,” on NESN. Costa is a long-time supporter of Catholic education. The event chairperson for the 2021 event is Elizabeth O’Brien, Esq., a parent of a student at St. John Paul II School — Preparatory Division in Hyannis.
To learn more about FACE, this event, as well as their involvement with the Falmouth Road Race, please visit the Anchor article here.
Quo Vadis Days
Quo Vadis Days, a retreat offered by the Fall River Diocese Vocations Office for young men ages 14-18, will also make a return this summer. As in years past, priests and seminarians attend along with young men across the diocese for prayer (Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, etc.), mountain hiking, sports (soccer, ultimate frisbee, flag football, capture the flag, volleyball), games, discussions, and talks. I will visit during the week and have been known on occasion to join in the soccer match. If you know of a young man who might be interested in attending encourage him to visit FallRiverVocations.org.