By Marita Grudzen, Co-Chair of Stewards of Our Common Home

Committed to helping fulfill Pope Francis’ teachings in Laudato Si’, the Office of Life, Justice, and Peace and its “Stewards of our Common Home” ministry, partner with the community to implement initiatives aimed to care for our planet.

Last Saturday, February 22, some eighty volunteers of all ages gathered with ten coaches from Our City Forest on the front lawn of Our Lady of Refuge Parish. The pastor, Father Hugo Rojas, welcomed all and expressed the parish’s sincere gratitude for the important project they were helping to complete: the planting of 25 trees around the church property. Marita Grudzen, Co-Chair of Stewards of Our Common Home, added her heartfelt gratitude for the many volunteers that came to help.

After several weeks of planning, selecting the trees, and mapping the right location for each one of them, the day had come, and the volunteers were eager to begin.

Matt Massey, Community Planting Volunteer Coordinator for Our City Forest, directed the group’s attention to a ‘Tree Planting and Safety Demonstration.” Then the work began, and it did not stop until all 25 beautiful new trees were planted.

The Stewards of our Common Home ministry is grateful to the community of Our Lady of Refuge Parish for their partnership, to Father Hugo Rojas for being committed to our Green Initiative, and to the Parish Office and Operations Manager, Luis Miranda, who was available all morning to address any needs that might emerge. We are also grateful to Our City Forest for bringing us together and to the Fire Department for funding this project. `This was truly a community effort fueled by the desire to care for our common home!


The Office of Life, Justice, and Peace and its “Stewards of our Common Home” ministry, support parish Green Teams and can implement initiatives such as this in your parish.

The City of San Jose has just funded Our City Forest for a new tree planting project in District 7. We strongly encourage Parishes in District 7 to apply for tree planting, one of many practical ways to mitigate climate change. If interested, please call Marcus Cabrera, Director of the Office of Life Justice and Peace, at 408-983-0158.