Care for Our Common Home through Eco-friendly Communities, India

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(India) The Vice-Province of Majella responding to the General Chapter of 2016, the Conference of Asia – Oceania making Care for Our Common Home a Fundamental Priority in the Apostolic Plan of the Conference, has taken to heart the Care for our Common Home as a Priority to put into action. The V. Province Apostolic Plan is geared to Care for Migrant people as its Fundamental Missionary Priority. The V. Province following the Conference of Asia – Oceania commitment has Care for Our Common Home as a Fundamental Priority in its Apostolic Plan. We see the social, economic, and pastoral link between Care for Migrant people and Care for Our Common Home. To respond to this, one calls for a natural response to the other in the context of India and the geographical area of the V. Province of Majella.

Chembur OLPs Terrace Gardening (Rooftop) of the Community
Farming scientific in Palke Parish, Mangalore

It is in this light that each community of the V. Province has marked out clearly what it will do to respond dynamically to the pastoral care of migrants as part of the Apostolic Plan of the V. Province. Each of the communities also has a detailed plan of how it will respond to care for our common home not just in the month of September (the month for Creation) but making Care for our common home a daily lived reality as part of our mission and Vita Apostolica. It is in this light that we share what most of our communities are doing for over a year now to have Eco-friendly communities, where caring for the environment is shown through very possible and practical ways which are done by the confreres themselves.

Sanquelim Community gardening for relaxation and aesthetics and prayer
Varca Community fruit and Vegetable Organic gardening

These ways are: having Terrace gardens (OLPS Community in Mumbai) where space is a premium in a city like Mumbai so one can have a flower and fruit garden on the terrace of the community house; Eco gardening using modern scientific methods to cultivate organic vegetables and fruits (Porvorim in Goa) and employing two migrant families to reside on the premises to help in this project; Cultivating fruits and vegetables in limited space using natural manure with the Philosophy Students (Varca, Goa); Eco farming growing an important crop on a farm which serves as a source of income to the community and parish (Palke and Alangar in Mangalore, Naigaon in Vasai); Water Shed Project that helps villagers dig trenches for rainwater harvesting in the villages of the parish (Panodi Maharashtra); regular gardening with flowers and aesthetic plants to beautify the surroundings (Sanquelim Goa).

Watershed project providing water for famine-affected villages

During Covid-19 and the lockdown in India our Eco-friendly spirituality of Care for our Common home has shown us clearly that caring for our mother earth can enable us to care for people in distress. The communities (Porvorim, Varca, and Naigaon) that have been growing organic vegetables and fruit have been able to share the produce with the neighbors, migrant families, and people in distress.

The communities have had more than enough for themselves and sufficient to share with all especially the neediest and most importantly offering them organic produce. This time has also been a grace for the confreres to busy themselves in the garden, in cultivation, to rest and relax in the quiet of the garden and being one with mother earth and with our committed migrant workers who work with us and pray with us.

This I believe is the way forward, Proclaiming the Word through Eco-friendly Communities.

Joseph Ivel Mendanha, C.Ss.R.

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