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By Fr Simon Lee

Darkhan, Mongolia, 19 May 2020 -- The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a resolute action for LAUDATO SI' WEEK 2020 in Don Bosco Darkhan, Mongolia - the SDB community with their mission partners planted almost 5000 trees on their farm. The Darkhan community is entrusted with the Parish of Mary Help of Christians, Oratory and Don Bosco Learning Centre of Don Bosco as well with the Don Bosco Media: all these activities have now stopped due to the pandemic. The Rector of Darkhan Don Bosco, Fr. Simon Lee from Korea shares his conviction and present action:

“We have just finished planting the 4680 trees at our favorite Cirenor farm in Darkhan with our lay mission partners. Due the corona pandemic period policies we can’t do any specific pastoral work at all, so we decided to focus in this moment on the farm work. We are happy to have planted some 4,680 trees (e.g. lilac, moil, oak and maple tree) for the ‘salvation of our planet Earth’.

As you know, in our Mongolia situation, we can sell the trees only to whose who want to buy it, but can’t sell it on the public market. If only we had some more money to buy the seeds, we could plant many more trees. And also here on the Darkhan farm we have no more land to plant, so maybe we should also help our parish in Shuuvu with some tree planting.

When I arrived in the Mongolia mission almost 20 years ago, as a ‘city boy’ I started learning many things necessary in this land. I arrived only with two clear ideas: first – that we need to develop our mission for the poor youth in need and second – that we need to contribute to the Mongolian ecosystem. This country has a huge extension of land but very little population. So the Mongolia mission is teaching me how to live on this mother Earth. And the land is like a mother’s womb.

Five years ago when I read the ‘Laudato Si’ Encyclical of Pope Francis for the first time, we had it immediately translated into Mongolian. Really Pope Francis offered me a great gift, with many ideas how to save our planet earth. Pope’s question: ‘What is happening in our common home called Earth?’ has been resonating in my mind since 2015. Since then I would like to contribute with our young people to the salvation of the Earth.

The best way to supply the necessary oxygen to our Earth is to plant some trees with our young people. If you love the trees, they will provide the necessary oxygen to this world. And to plant a tree, you don’t need a big amount of money, you need only a passion and the seeds. And if we want to get the land for planting the trees, surely some benefactors will help us!

At the end of my sharing I would like to challenge you with some questions:

Do you have any concrete ideas in your mind about the salvation of the Earth?
What can we do in our Delegations or Provinces for the salvation of the Earth?
What can we do as Salesian Family in our EAO region for our Planet Earth?
What can we try together for the ‘common home’ according Pope Francis “Laudato Si’?



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