Uniting in One Heart for Ecology: A Successful Tree Growing Activity at La Salud Laudato Si Farm


PILILIA, Rizal – On May 20, 2023, a significant event took place at La Salud Laudato Si Farm in Quisao, Pililla, Rizal. More than 60 active members of the parish of San Sebastian Basilica, Manila, joined together for a tree growing activity that exemplified their commitment to ecological stewardship. This historical event brought together various groups, including the OAR religious priests of San Sebastian College-Recoletos community, Augustinian Recollect Sisters, Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity, Recollect Augustinian Youth, the Parish Pastoral Council, and other lay members of the parish organizations. With the theme «One Heart for Ecology,» the day was filled with tree planting, informative talks, spiritual nourishment, and a sense of unity.

Planting Seeds of Life:

The day began with participants arriving at 7 am, filled with excitement and enthusiasm for the tree growing activity. A diverse selection of seedlings, including mangga, langka, avocado, and more, awaited their hands to be planted into the fertile soil of La Salud Laudato Si Farm. Armed with shovels and gloves, the parish members eagerly planted the seedlings, understanding the significance of their actions in fostering a greener and healthier environment.

Nourishing Minds and Spirits:

Amidst the tree planting, the schedule included an essential talk on Arcores and Laudato Si. This talk served as a reminder of the intrinsic connection between our faith and our responsibility to care for the Earth. It emphasized the importance of living in harmony with nature, as Pope Francis eloquently expressed in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’. This spiritual reflection inspired the participants to deepen their understanding of ecological stewardship and encouraged them to continue their efforts beyond this event.

The day’s activities also incorporated a Holy Mass, wherein prayers of gratitude and petitions for the protection of creation were offered. The Eucharistic celebration served as a reminder of the sacredness of all life and the divine presence within nature. The participants left the Mass feeling spiritually uplifted and motivated to make a positive impact on the environment.

Building Community and Sharing Meals:

No gathering is complete without the fellowship of shared meals. After the morning activities, a communal breakfast and lunch (agape) were provided, allowing participants to nourish their bodies while strengthening their bonds as a community. Conversations centered around the significance of their collective efforts and the shared commitment to sustainable practices.

Leaving a Lasting Impact:

As the day progressed, the parish members exemplified their dedication to environmental stewardship by not only planting trees but also ensuring the cleanliness of the area. Following the tree planting and meals, participants engaged in an area cleaning activity, symbolizing their desire to leave a lasting impact on La Salud Laudato Si Farm and the surrounding environment.

The tree growing activity at La Salud Laudato Si Farm was a true testament to the unity and dedication of the parish of San Sebastian Basilica, Manila. Through their active involvement and collective efforts, they demonstrated the power of coming together with «One Heart for Ecology.» This event fostered a sense of community, strengthened their commitment to ecological stewardship, and provided an opportunity for spiritual growth. As these seedlings take root and grow, they will serve as a visible reminder of their shared mission to protect and nurture God’s creation. May this event inspire other communities to join in the urgent task of caring for our planet, so that future generations may inherit a more sustainable and thriving world.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals and communities who made the tree growing activity at La Salud Laudato Si Farm possible:

First and foremost, we express our deepest appreciation to Fr. Edgar Tubio, OAR, the parish priest of San Sebastian Basilica. His visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to ecological stewardship were instrumental in spearheading the preparation for this event. We are grateful for his dedication in providing all the seedlings and overseeing the tilling of the farm, ensuring that the activity would be a success.

We also extend our sincere thanks to Fr. Randy Castillo, OAR, the farm director, for his invaluable time and effort in making this event a reality. His guidance and expertise in managing the farm greatly contributed to the smooth execution of the tree planting activity.

To the La Salud Community, we express our warmest gratitude for their warm welcome and generous support. Their hospitality and assistance played a crucial role in creating a conducive environment for the participants and ensuring the event’s success.

Last but not least, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the San Sebastian College – Recoletos community for their unwavering support throughout the entire process. Their collective efforts, enthusiasm, and commitment to ecological stewardship have been truly inspiring, and they have shown that when we come together with one heart, we can create a significant impact.

Together, we have taken a meaningful step towards a greener and more sustainable future. May our collective efforts serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others, encouraging them to join us in our mission to protect and preserve God’s creation.

Thank you once again to Fr. Edgar Tubio, OAR, Fr. Randy Castillo, OAR, the La Salud Community, and the San Sebastian community for your invaluable contributions. May God bless each and every one of you abundantly for your dedication and commitment to ecological stewardship.

Fray Albert Pellazar, OAR

Fray Albert Pellazar, OAR

Ordained priest of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.