I am Laudato Si’,
I breathe Laudato Si’,
My future is Laudato Si’
This incomparable gift from Pope Francis has become my daily anthem and my light when I find myself in darkness and my strength and hope for the better planet. This aligns well with my decision and commitment to be part of the greater movement of Youth working to restore, protect and sustain God’s creation locally, regionally and globally.
After the commemoration last year in July 2019, of the 4th Anniversary of the Laudato Si’ Encyclical and the 5th Anniversary of the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa, (CYNESA) in Nairobi, Kenya, I felt the urge to do more in line with Laudato Si and I renewed my commitment and willingness to care for the house that shelters me: “The Mother Planet”.
One week after the Conference in Nairobi Laudato Si’, I decide to plant my Laudato Si Mulberry tree. Today I cannot compete with its height!. I have already started harvesting fruits from it.
Mesmerized and led by the Laudato Si’ conviction, three weeks later, I decided to put in place a nursery bed for trees where I live in Mbarara, Uganda. These trees are inter alia: Jacaranda trees, eucalyptus trees, pine trees and Jackfruit trees. I collected seeds, dried them up and prepared the nursery bed and planted them.
This activity required me to put in a lot of efforts. I had to wake up every single day at six in the morning and water them. I had my first smile on my lips after two weeks when I saw the seedlings growing out of the soil. The first word I uttered was “Laudato Si, my trees have sprouted!” and I kept on repeating ‘praise the Lord’ more than ten times. Today I am counting 31 eucalyptus trees, 19 jacaranda trees, 13 jackfruit trees and 3 pine trees.
Despite my personal actions and the efforts that the world is putting together to address the current environmental issues and the 21st century challenges today, the outbreak of the novel Corona virus (COVID19), has come with a strong message. In this COVID19 times, both developed and under developed Countries have been hit and the serious effects of the pandemic are felt among the poorest where care for the poor people may be a challenge. These people are becoming poorer as long as the pandemic (COVID19) is still spreading in Africa and the whole world.
This pandemic may be the clear sign telling us that we are half way and we still have much to do. It may be a manifestation of a severe climate crisis and quick response is needed.
In this regard, as Pope Francis call us through the Laudato Si’ to make this planet a living place again; let us grasp this opportunity for a sustainable world. Laudato Si’ has shaped my attitude towards the environmental actions and care for the poor. It has triggered my motivation for change. Living Laudato Si’ is a way of building a better future that responds to the expectations of the current and future generations.
Eliode BAKOLE, CYNESA DR Congo