Laudato Sì’ has taken root in Bangladesh — literally.
As part of the Laudato Sì’ Year and on the occasion of the centenary of the “founder of the nation” and the year in which Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of independence, the country’s Catholics have planted around a million trees, reported Fides News Agency. This is shared by the small Catholic Church in Bangladesh, which has only 400,000 believers in the country with over 165 million inhabitants. The initiative was started on August 14, 2020, by Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario and all the Catholic Bishops of Bangladesh. On the occasion of the Laudato Sì Year, all Catholic institutions and communities took part: A total of 400,000 trees were planted by groups and parishes in the various Catholic dioceses, with around 360,000 trees from Caritas Bangladesh while 215,000 trees were planted by Christian Cooperative Credit Union Ltd and the Bangladesh Christian Association contributed about 10,000 trees for a total of 931,000 trees.
Father Jyoti Francis Costa, Deputy General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh, told Fides: “The Holy Father called the faithful to take care of the earth and the Catholic faithful of this country responded by planting trees because trees make the world greener and produce oxygen”. He added: “All bishops are involved in the tree-planting campaign in the various dioceses, which will be completed this year”.
Sebastian Rozario, Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh, confirms to Fides that trees have been planted in a total of 49 districts. “We deliver trees to those we support with our programs. Most of the trees have already been planted; the rest will be planted this year”. “In addition to distributing trees to the beneficiaries, all 6,000 Caritas volunteers planted a tree with their own personal commitment”, he explained.
Christian cooperative “Credit Union Ltd”, a cooperative organization founded in Dhaka by the priest of the Holy Cross Father Charles J. Young, is campaigning for the same thing. Pankaj Gilbert Costa, president of the organization, confirmed the planting of 215,000 trees.
Nirmol Rozario, president of the Bangladesh Christian Association, announced that his organization has distributed 10,000 fruit trees and plants to friends and benefactors who will take care of the planting. Sujon Haldar received a mango seedling from the Bangladesh Christian Association as an example and planted it in the garden of his house: “These trees will give me shade, fruit, and wood in the future. Trees are friends forever”, he says, appreciating the initiative of the Catholic Church.