Fr. Albertus W. Lasar OFM, the parish priest of Christ the King church in Pagal, Manggarai-Flores, baptized 18 children in a baptism service on Sunday, 03/15/2020. Trees were blessed and handed out to the parents/godparents as an expression of gratitude for the baptism. Amo Abba, he usually called, explained that the “sacramental tree” means more than just a memory, but as a symbolism which invites people to nurture and grow their faith. The blessing and handing out trees has become a tradition in Pagal Parish. Additionally, this tradition also applies to the marriage blessing and first communion. “Starting this year, (handing out and blessing tress) will apply to all sacrament celebrations performed at the Pagal Church,” said Fr. Abba assured.
This tradition survives for years, thanks to the support and enthusiasm of the people, who experience strong support from the parish priest. Accordingly, the existence of the Ecopastoral Franciscan office in Pagal is a blessing for the Parish. “The trees that people bring to be blessed in the Church are supplied by the Ekopastoral office. This supply helps those parishioners who might not have tree seedlings. This practice can be regarded as an ecological form of the sacrament. What people bring is a ‘sacrament tree’, symbolising the growth of faith among the parishioners,” said Fr. Abba.