Udupi: Scores of youth and the faithful of St Anthony’s Church thronged to the slushy fields to promote agriculture by planting rice saplings in the outskirts of Kuntalnagar here on September 25. Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has addressed climatic change and environmental issues, and this step of the youth has served the purpose of Pope’s encyclical.
The Indian Catholic Youth Movement unit of Kuntalnagar together with the Youth Commission of the Diocese of Udupi had organised an event titled ‘Yuva Mel Gadyanth Kel’ on September 6 in the paddy field owned by Shymala Shetty. The youth had then promised the owner of the paddy field to cultivate the land for allowing them to hold the event. Likewise, on Friday, the youth kept their promise and cultivated the barren land untouched for many years.
The faithful of the church also joined hands with the youth in planting the rice saplings in the field. Men and women were seen in traditional attire while planting the rice. Fr Denis D’Sa, Parish Priest of St Anthony’s Church and Fr Royson Fernandes, youth director of Udupi deanery, motivated the youth and parishioners by planting rice along with them.
Fr Denis D’Sa sharing his views said that Catholics have played a prominent part in agricultural activities around coastal Karnataka. Beetle leaves were the prominent crop raised by Catholics. Later on, they shifted their focus to paddy cultivation and other prominent commercial crops. Pope Francis has been actively involved in addressing environmental issues. Similar intentions have also been shown by our youth in protecting the environment, he added.
Anthony Prajwal Mendonca, president of ICYM Kuntalnagar, said that agriculture helps us to know the importance of nature. The intention of planting rice saplings on barren land is to inspire other youth to promote agriculture. This move has helped us to understand the pains and difficulties of farmers who are today, neglected by society.
Valerian Mathias, president of Parish Pastoral Council, said that our ancestors ploughed the fields and supported their families. “Youth should know the importance of agriculture and also the role of a farmer in nation building. In the coming days, more youth should engage in cultivating barren land in their locality,” he added.
Later, the youth were served with a traditional meal cooked by the parishioners.