PMS LILONGWE, MALAWI REFORESTATION PROGRAM
By: Rosemary Tsokabanda
Following the nation’s tree planting endeavor, the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe is determined to preserve nature by engaging children in planting trees as a way of fighting climate change, an issue Malawi has been facing.
This has been achieved through raising awareness to priests, religious and Church leaders on the importance of planting trees in 22 parishes in the archdiocese thanks to the Society of the Holy Childhood who funded the whole operation.
The diocesan PMS office distributed moringa seeds in the parishes from January 8-17 so that children, together with Church leaders and the faithful, can participate in the reforestation program. Moringa was chosen due to its nutritional value which are beneficial to many children in a low-income country like Malawi. Apart from moringa trees, selected parishes will also plant seeds of their choice.
St. Anne’s Guilleme Parish in the Mchinji district was the first to inaugurate this program where children from the Guilleme boys’ and girls’ primary school were engaged and planted 600 trees. Other parishes followed suit, such as St. Ignatius’ Police Headquarters Parish, St. John’s Msamba Parish, St. John Paul II’s Chitedze Parish and St. Paul’s Mlale Minor Seminary.
The Archdiocesan PMS Director, Fr. Francis Lekaleka, said in his address to the children and parishioners of St. Anne’s Guilleme Parish that this was a response to the Pope’s call in his encyclical, ‘Laudato Si,’ where he encouraged everybody to be responsible for taking care of the environment. He said planting is easy but taking care of the trees should be the priority. He then urged all the children to own responsibility of the trees that they have planted and make sure they are safe from danger. He then thanked Archbishop Tarsizio Ziyaye of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe for encouraging the reforestation program to the children in the archdiocese.
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi in its statement on the preparations of the Extraordinary Mission Month also urged the Christians in all eight dioceses of Malawi to plant trees in the month of January as a way of demonstrating their missionary responsibilities.
There has been a lot of excitement ignited from this reforestation program and the Episcopal Conference’s efforts. Although the exercise has been initiated by the Missionary Childhood, it is evident that even the youth and the parents are getting involved.
It is expected that around 5,000 trees will be planted by the end of the program. Thus, the PMS office of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe expects to start monitoring the trees mid-March of this year.
1 February st 2019
Supervised by Rosemary Tsokabanda