On Sunday 18 September, the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland communities of Cavan came together in a prayer ritual as Bishop Martin Hayes, Bishop of Kilmore, and Canon Mark Lidwell facilitated the planting of crocus bulbs on the front lawn of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Felim.  The crocus bulbs will in time, with the advent of Spring, emerge to flower in a pattern to denote the word HOPE.

Bishop Martin said, “The purpose of planting crocus bulbs was to celebrate the Season of Creation (1 September until 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis, the patron of ecology).  During the Season of Creation, we give thanks for the beauty, diversity, the fruitfulness of God’s creation at harvest time and celebrate our interdependent connection with all of creation.”

The prayer ritual led jointly by Canon Mark and Bishop Martin also highlighted the concern about the harmful effects of global warming on our planet, and how the poor in the developing world are most affected due to the destruction of agricultural crops.  Indeed, the invitation to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor by Pope Francis in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’ on care for our Common Home (LS 25 & 49) was echoed throughout the crocus planting ceremony.

The crocus bulbs were planted by young parishioners to illustrate the need to address the impact of climate change on the next generations, upon the future of our young people.  The need for a sign of hope for the future is the concern expressed vocally and in the actions of young people about our climate crisis.  Indeed, Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist, insists that it is actions that provide hope.

The original idea for planting the crocus bulbs to denote the word HOPE emerged at a meeting of the Diocesan Kilmore Care of Creation group who have over the past year been active in developing connections with like-minded and interfaith groups.  To date they have engaged in various projects, including: A garden bed makeover at Saint Clare’s Convent Chapel, litter clean ups, organised educational talks and promoted tree planting on church grounds, being active in local media and prepared lists of practical and useful tips on how to live sustainably.

The Kilmore Care of Creation Group attended the crocus bulb planting ceremony and was responsible for making some useful eco tips available for distribution by young people before the ceremony on the Cathedral lawn, which include ways of reducing consumption of energy in our daily lives, may well be relevant during the coming Winter!

Bishop Martin said, “despite all our troubles, difficulties, trials and crises, opportunities present themselves and we can always be hopeful.  We look forward to Spring and to seeing our crocus bulbs emerge to symbolise our hope for the future.”

ENDS