Back in April 2018, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv., Chairman of Our Lady of the Angels Province’s Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Ministry hosted an Interfaith Forum and Symposium on Environmental Justice and Service to Vulnerable Populations, at our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City MD. One of the relationships to evolve and flourish from the event was between our friars, Howard County conservation organizations and the area’s Presbyterian faith community.
On October 9, 2018, Friar Michael (at left) joined volunteers from our Shrine’s Garden Ministry, Earth Forum of Howard County and First Presbyterian Church of Howard County to plant seven Cherokee Brave Dogwood trees and three Rising Sun Redbud trees in the area around the Shrine’s Outdoor Stations of the Cross. Instrumental in this undertaking was Nancy Fayer, the Coordinator of Earth Forum of Howard County, at First Presbyterian Church. This organization partners with other environmentally conscious groups such as The Municipal Online Stormwater Training (MOST) Center and Howard County’s Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY) program, which created and maintains the rain-gardens on the Ellicott City Complex. Nancy was able to obtain the ten trees donated through Sun Nurseries, while working closely with Friar Michael and Shrine staff members – Carol Derenge and Jared Luttrell to plan and execute the planting, including procuring the compost, leaf grow, or organic soil amendment needed to maintain an environmentally conscience planting process.