By Analisa Ramsahai
Regional Programme Coordinator for the Franciscan Institute
A special Earth Day session was done April 22 for the Prep 3 students, their parents and teachers at St Xavier’s Private Primary School, St Joseph.
“The Earth is our common home; we all live in it and share it. Caring for the Earth starts with you and I, we all must work together to care for all of God’s creation. Whether it is a homeless person, a mango tree, Maracas beach or a student of St Xavier’s we all belong in God’s home, it is important that we take care of each other.”
This was part of the Earth Day message delivered by Analisa Ramsahai, Regional Programme Coordinator for the Franciscan Institute. It was the first time in two years an in-person session was conducted at the school.
The children responded eagerly with their parents as they reflected on two key questions: “How do I treat God’s home, all God’s creation, including myself, and my classmates and school?”
One such response was walking with their reusable water bottles and using the iCare recyclable bins to stop plastic pollution at the school.
Maria Samad of the Rain Tree Plant & Wellness Centre also shared with the audience that “Plants play an important role in giving us fresh air to breathe, food to eat, provides a home for many animals and even shade for people. Planting a tree makes a big difference and will benefit all of us.”
The students were invited to participate in the upcoming Season of Creation Challenge at The Franciscan Institute, which begins May 1 and ends on July 25. The winners and participants will receive awards at the Institute’s regional St Francis Canticle Creation Award Ceremony on October 29.
School Principal, Sr Ivy Pacheco SJC and the students then received a gift of a black olive tree as a token to bring forth the fruits of peace and hope for the Earth and future generations.
As you may know, the olive tree is a symbol of peace. It is quite relevant as we remain united in prayer for peace in the world and spread the message on care for all of God’s creation.
Sr Ivy left the Prep 3 students with the responsibility to care for the olive tree and to commit to rebuilding the school’s vegetable and plant garden.
As Pope Francis shares in the encyclical Laudato Si’:“Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (LS 13). For more upcoming Laudato Si’ or Care for Creation activities follow the Laudato Si’ Movement Trinidad and Tobago Chapter.
The black olive tree was donated by The Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development, a ministry of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and the Rain Tree Plant & Wellness Centre, Macoya.