WILTON—Members of Sodality, a youth group for middle school students at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton, recently did a variety of projects around the church grounds. From picking up litter, pulling weeds and planting beautiful flowers, children of the parish cared for “our plot of land here at the parish,” said youth group director Mara Fleming. Both Sodality and Children of Mary (a group for younger children of the parish) are community service-based groups that were founded during the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis in 2015. They commit to performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and “all of the projects are chosen by the kids themselves,” says Fleming. “I went into it [leading this group] thinking I would plan all of these events, but their ideas are much better than anything I could ever come up with! They’re really creative,” she says.
The inspiration behind this particular service project came from an appreciation and gratitude for the gifts which God gives us. “The first gift is the gift of his creation,” says Petta, who attests that the easiest way for their group to exercise Christian stewardship is through taking care of the part of creation that is entrusted to them at Our Lady of Fatima. Members of Sodality were joined by younger children, who they helped and led through working in teams.
The rose bushes and plants that were planted were donations to the parish. Sodality members planted them around a statue of Our Lady, which inspired the parish’s high school students to start a “Mary Garden.” “We’re starting small, with rosemary and marigolds,” says Fleming, and “the kids will get to see the fruits of their labor immediately.” To complement this activity where students receive immediate gratification, the youth group also plants bulbs between the church and school that require a period of waiting. Keeping the Parable of the Sower and the Seed at the forefront of their minds and hearts, “the kids plant and do everything they can to make sure their plants are nourished,” says Fleming. All that is left is for them to let God do the rest and “just trust it.” Come springtime, the children are elated to see their plants start to bloom.