A Prelate from Kenya’s Archdiocese of Kisumu during tree planting initiative to mark the end of the special Laudato Si’ anniversary year has stressed that caring for creation requires individual’s change of heart.

“It is not just planting trees, but change of heart,” Archbishop Philip Arnold Anyolo told AMECEA online in an interview Friday, May 21, adding that, “One should act consciously knowing that caring for creation is charity work.”

The Archbishop who is the Local Ordinary of Kisumu Archdiocese cautioned during the tree planting initiative organized by Caritas Kisumu in collaboration with the government, Civil Societies and Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) that “the best charity is not what you give to receive short-term praises, but what people can praise you about over the years.”

He calls on Christians and people of good will to encourage everybody to care for creation so the “future generation can have shelter” and also for the people to know that environmental conversion is part of Christian calling and social teachings of the Church.

As the week-long Laudato Si’ celebration is meant to appreciate the great progress the whole Church has made on its journey to ecological conversion, Archbishop Anyolo who is the Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has called on Government to continue partnering with the Church in sensitizing the people to care for creation.

Participants during tree planting

Speaking during the same event where 1,000 trees were planted at St. Paul’s Mbaga Parish in the Archdiocese, Most Rev. Anthony Muheria of Nyeri Archdiocese invited participants to embrace the spirit of the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan social, environmental, and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and championed for environmental conservation.

The Prelate reminded the people to “look for ways in which less firewood can be used to save forests,” emphasizing that caring for creation has several components other than planting of trees.

According to Fr. Samuel Nyattaya the Director Caritas Office, Kisumu, 5,000 tree seedlings were purchased from last year’s Lenten campaign savings and apart from those planted in the Church compound, others are being planted in the surrounding institutions.

Fr. Nyattaya disclosed in an interview with AMECEA online that the officials who joined in the Wednesday, May 19, event were issued with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter (Laudato Si’) and “Surprisingly, it was the first time they heard about the Laudato Si’, and the Church teaching them about the document.”

Presentation of Laudato Si’ document

Archbishop Anyolo issued some copies of Laudato Si’ document to the representatives of the various organizations who were present  and the Caritas director promised to make a follow up and encourage them implement the Pope’s request,

The event brought together representatives from Kenya Forest Service, County Government of, World Vision, the Ministry of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya Girl Guide Association and the clergy among others.