Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 15, 2002
Rose oasis feeds the soul
Inner city priest plants beauty amidst concrete
By RENATO GANDIA
"We really need something alive here in the inner city."
- Fr. James Holland
Several roses are ready to bloom and the spiritual gardener plans to put a sign "God is watching you" because some can't resist the temptation of picking them.
"I wish that they would leave them there so everyone can enjoy."
The circle of roses is surrounded by marigolds to keep bugs and aphids off the fragile roses. A font - filled with fresh water for the birds -- is centred in the rose circle.
Holland knows he can plant grass or some vegetables. But the neighbourhood priest decided to plant a flower garden to give a different tone, a change in atmosphere, something people mostly see in the posh suburbs. He believes this pocket of beauty lifts peoples' spirit when they go to Church to pray or even when folk are simply passing by.
Gardening serves another purpose for the busy pastor. When he gets out and works in the garden, he can escape from the stress of parish work.
"It doesn't take a lot of work. It highlights the beauty of creation and it gives the people the feeling, 'We can have that (beauty) in the inner city too.'"
Holland hopes his neighbours will follow suit and perhaps one day, all the inner city yards will be a version of the bit of nature's beauty in front of his rectory.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.