The Archdiocese of Indianapolis Creation Care Ministry is organizing the Season of Creation Tree & Flower Extravaganza. The event includes sales and delivery of the trees in late September, and a Spring tree planting. Team members include Sister Sheila Marie Fitzpatrick (OSB), Sharon Horvath, John Mundell, Andy Pike, Julie Reyes, Joe Shierling and Rosemary Spalding. Matt Faley is the director of the Pastoral Ministries of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
What is the goal of your project?
To plant 500 trees in the geographical region of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Part 1 is a Fall tree and wildflower “sale” open to all parishes, parishioners, members of other faiths. Part 2 is an ecumenical spring planting on the grounds of some space that is in an area of need. This wasn’t quite the original plan, but we are happy to include a new ecumenical aspect. We have selected a few varieties of wonderful quality trees from a local nursery, plus some wildflower seed packets to offer for a small donation and are distributing the sale through channels that are not just Catholic. With the funding from CCC we were able to keep the donation for each item at a lower cost and also offer transportation to all regions of the Archdiocese (from end to end we are about 3 hours apart). We hope that engaging with people in the process of the tree sale we will also enter into further discussion about care for God’s creation.
What inspired your team to pick this project?
We have recognized the value of tree planting, not just for greenhouse gas reduction and enhancement of wildlife, but as something simple and actionable that can be done in both homes and on congregations’ grounds. Additionally, the planting of trees helps create spaces of beauty and areas for reflection on God’s creation. We were so inspired last year by a priest who rallied his one parish to plant some 200 trees, we wanted to take that model and encourage all parishes to do that! Unfortunately with COVID, our initial plan was not going to work, but we are excited to be able to offer something that people of all faiths can participate in.
What Catholic social teaching is most related to your project?
In addition to caring and safeguarding creation, we are incorporating the aspects of solidarity and preferential option for the poor in the spring portion of this tree planting. We have starting work on identifying areas in the city for the spring planting where the quality of the environment is affecting the people living there and/or are sites of monuments to fraternity and brotherhood.
How does the team feel about the work so far?
Good! Considering everything that has happened this year, we are excited. Also excited that we can offer online ordering. We have also made contact with a group that is doing an ecumenical fall tree planting and hope we can learn/collaborate with them for the spring.