By SOLOMON BAKO : The Archbishop of Kaduna Most Revd. Dr. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso has flagged off tree planting campaign (Laudato Si) in Archdiocese of Kaduna which took place at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Karji.

The event was organized by Justice Development and Peace Initiative in collaboration with Archdiocesan Pastoral Executive Council (APEC). The Parish Priest Very Revd. Fr. Raymond Nandem on behalf of the parishioners of St. Paul’s Karji welcomed the Archbishop, Revd. Fr. Joshua Achir, Revd. Sr. Rita Schwarzenbeger, and lay faithful across the Archdiocese. He thanked the Archbishop and the organizers of the event for the choice of St. Paul’s. He concluded by urging everyone to feel at home that the parish is known as home for all.

The Archbishop stated that, seven years ago, The Holy Father Pope Francis sent out to the whole world a call to care for the earth “our common home’’, as he named it and says it ‘’is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

The Pope made this call through the encyclical named “Laudato Si” which is translated as ‘’Praise be to you, my Lord’’ from the song of St. Francis where he sings in praise to God for all of God’s creation. The Archbishop continued by saying that, God created the earth so beautiful with trees inclusive; entrusted it to us to look after this wonderful gift given to man, making usco-creators with Him. We have not been faithful to this creatures, instead we are destroying it with our activities of illegal cutting down of trees.

The Archbishop mentioned benefits of tree planting that includes; reducing climate change, purifying air, cooling down the streets, natural air conditioning, preventing water pollution, reinforcing soil, erosion control and many others. There are many environmental benefits of planting a tree. Strategically planting trees around your home can have tremendous benefits on the environment, not only will you help restore life’s quality in your community, contribute to the environment and help fight climate change, but you will else set an example. Therefore, planting a beautiful tree is always a good idea. According to him, destruction of God creatures is unacceptable all over the world. He commented that some species of birds and wild animals cannot be seen anywhere in Africa just because of our illegal activities.

In Nigeria the laws guiding cutting down of trees and hunting are there but unfortunately we are all guilty at one point or the other; from the person doing it and those who sees it and keep mute. He reiterated that, hope is not lost; it’s time for redemption by planting trees to replace the ones destroyed. Archdiocese of Kaduna is targeting planting of twenty thousand trees (20,000) from now to the next ten (10) years. He called on wealthy individuals to buy acres of lands for plantation so as to create job opportunities and to improve our nutritional status. He directed that all Parishes, Pastoral Areas and Outstations plant trees around church premises. He further announced that the Archdiocese is working towards training individuals on growing seedlings which will create job opportunities.

Shortly after the Holy Mass, Archbishop Ndagoso exercised tree planting to set example for all Catholic faithful to do same. He encouraged Catholics and Non-Catholics to plant trees in their homes to provide food and for commercial purposes. The program is for a whole week across the Archdiocese from 21st May, to 28th May, 2023.

A short drama by Sunday School Children on benefits of planting trees added beauty to the occasion. Coordinator of Justice Development and Peace Initiative Rev. Fr. Joshua Achir thanked the Archbishop for sparing time to grace the event. He appreciated Very Revd. Fr. Raymond Nandem for hosting the occasion, Revd. Sr. Rita Schwarzenbenger and her team for attending. There was distribution of trees to parishes represented and promised that trees will reach all churches as the Archdiocese bought two hundred and fifty (250) trees while St. Paul’s Karji bought fifty (50).

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