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Chapter 18:

The Community Garden A few weeks passed since the Explorers agreed to help Father Timothy with the community garden. Father Timothy called everyone together for the first planning meeting at the parish hall: Father Timothy, the Seminarians, the Explorers and their families, as well as a few others. After an opening prayer, Father Timothy announced, “Welcome, everyone, thank you for being here today. May this garden be a blessing for the whole community, especially those who need food, and may our work be a testimony of our discipleship. Our community is a welldiverse community, including families from Africa, Japan, Guatemala, and Mexico.” Just as Father Timothy said this Tobi, Keiko, Manuel, and Rodrigo stood tall. Page 2 of 5 © RCL Benziger

Father Timothy continued, “May our community garden be as diverse with food, so as to be a sign of God’s abundant love for all peoples.”

Then Father Timothy introduced the three strangers. “I have invited three very special people to be here with us for this project. Please welcome Sister Camille. She is a Franciscan Sister who works at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And this is Ben Cotter, the city’s park commissioner. And this is Señor Juan Cortez from the Hispanic Community Center. Manuel said to Ellie, “Wow, I am impressed how all these important people want to help.” Ellie said, “It just shows that disciples come from every walk of life!”

As a result of the meeting, the group agreed that the land needed to be cleared and divided into plots. At the heart of the community garden would be a quiet peace garden dedicated to Saint Francis. There was to be a prayer rock, on which Saint Francis’ peace prayer was to be inscribed. Keiko’ s father, Mr. Sato, offered his services as a landscape architect to design the garden without charge. When he made the offer, he told the group, “Keiko and Page 3 of 5 © RCL Benziger

her friends have told me how much of a blessing this garden can be for the community. I would be honored to help.”

Father Timothy concluded the meeting by saying, “Our youngest disciples are truly teaching us how to serve God. I think we all are honored to have so many people involved in our little project.” Mr. Sato also stood up, “It is clear to me that peace is an important aspect of this garden, therefore in our “Peace Garden” we will have a calming water feature.” Then Sister Camille said, “I will help collect money for a statue of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. And we can place this statue at the center near the water feature since Christ is our Living Water.” Then Jake stood up and said, “And don’t forget to include bamboo!” Father Timothy said, “Yes, Jake, we will have bamboo.” Everyone smiled at how much everything was coming together. Manuel then asked, “How are we going to afford all of this?” Just then, Mr. Fowler, Rodrigo’s soccer coach, stood up and said, “I have a great idea for raising the money for the garden. Have you ever heard Page 4 of 5 © RCL Benziger

of a walk-a-thon? Well Jesus wants us to have strong souls, strong minds, and strong bodies. We can put that together and walk to raise money.” Marissa then said, “That’s right, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and what better way to ask the Holy Spirit to help us by taking care of our bodies while doing good works!” Tobi then asked, “ What exactly is a walk-a-thon?”

“Well”, Mr. Fowler explained, “Each walker finds at least one sponsor who is willing to donate money for each mile the participants walks for the designated charity. In this case, our charity is the Saint Francis Garden.” Keiko then added, “We could all walk together on a route around the city at a specific time. We would promote our community garden around the city.”

“That would be a wonderful way to give witness to our faith and our discipleship,” added Father Timothy. And so the meeting ended with a prayer, and the Explorers stayed around to discuss how they were going to help raise money for the community garden. --------------TIME TO VOTE Exit out of this page turner. Then scroll to the bottom of the web page to place your vote. Page 5 of 5 © RCL Benziger

Season 2, Chapter 18  

The Community Garden