Pretty flowers are nice to look at, but our ecology tells us that smelly, discarded garbage can play an important role in that beauty.
This was a lesson that Father Albert Utzig, SSC, imparted to his parishioners at St. Mary’s in Fontana in honor of Earth Day last month. Fr. Utzig invited St. Mary parishioners to bring in their kitchen scraps to make compost that will fertilize a flower bed in front of the church.
“People are bringing in two or three bags a day,” said Fr. Utzig.
He and parish staff built a wooden 8-by-3-foot composing box where the kitchen scraps are cooked into fertilizer. Children and teenagers have taken a leading role in the composting project, encouraging parishioners to bring their compost and inviting others to help them plant flower seeds in the fertilized ground.
“The young people are interested,” Fr. Utzig said. “They’re doing the work.”
In early April David Guzman, a 17-year-old parishioner at St. Mary’s, and his friends handed out cups filled with fertilized soil and flower seeds to parishioners as they exited after Mass. Later in the month, they took more of the fertilized soil to plant seeds for the giant sunflowers that have become a tradition at the parish.
Guzman notes that warehouse development continues to encroach on the natural environment around the parish and so he likes the composting and gardening as way to preserve nature.
“It’s nice to have people see life,” he says. “How we can have it here if we choose to. You can plant a flower, simple as that.”
Tying the project into a teaching tool on God’s creation, Fr. Utzig reminds his parishioners everything living is of the same substance.
“God created Adam out of the earth,” he says. “Everything in creation is our brothers and sisters. They’re the same earth that we are — even the fertilizer.
The above comes from a mid-May story in the Inland Catholic Byte.
Responsible recycling to continue life’s cycle.
“Of the same substance?!” Everything living is consubstantial? Homoousios?!
Did Fr. Utzig really say that?!
(If he did, what seminary did he attend?)
Of course, there is a common chemical basis among living organisms, but the children at St. Mary’s are certainly infinitely more valuable and not the same as kitchen scraps and the COVID viruses!
Has Father not heard that humans are created in the image of God?
Part of Fr. Martin Luther’s heresy was to see humans as dung.
What seems to be the same, or at least similar, is excrement and that kind of talk. That “theology” is garbage. And, such confusion is dangerous and damaging.
And, no, it’s not true that “Everything in creation is our brothers and sisters.” Does anyone really think that cancer, nuclear weapons, artificial contraceptives and Alzheimer’s disease are our “brothers and sisters?”
(And, people misunderstand St. Francis of Assisi, if they think he taught that. He was speaking metaphorically, not ontologically.)
Agreed, Father. The metaphysics here is a total mess. It’s as though Fr. Utzig was never taught anything about form, or perhaps doesn’t care a bit about it. And once sound philosophy goes out the window, sound theology does too. So it is no wonder that Fr. Utzig seems to have more problems than metaphysical ones.
Ahem, anonymous Father or Deacon or Bishop or Cardinal: “Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” We are of the earth. Nothing wrong with what’s said in the article. Stop nitpicking where it needn’t be done. You’re looking to find fault. That’s the default setting of so many people who post here. They’re looking for something to criticize, and so they often leap before they look or think.
Yes, it’s gotten to the point that this website should be called “California Schismatic Trad Daily”.
There are schismatics, traditionalists, Catholics who have separated from the Church while attending Mass at independent chapels who comment on this site. There have been some heated arguments and strong pleas for reversion but for the most part we co-exist with respect. We pray for their souls and they pray for ours.
@ Anonymous 4:01 pm. FYI: I am neither a “Trad” Catholic nor a “Schismatic” Catholic. I have never attended a Traditional Latin Mass, as it were. I grew up with the Roman Liturgical Rite, thank goodness. I went along with and made my peace with Vatican II changes while instilling in my children the faith of my fathers. A millennia of fundamental truths about my Catholic faith will never replace the new toxic politics of some very enlightened but wayward bishops who have betrayed us in their quests to be contemporary troubadours. We are here simply to express ourselves and support one another in our sacred tradition.
Martian said, “Remember, man, that you . . .”
That doesn’t mean we’re all one substance. Pantheism is heretical, and saying things that sounds like it isn’t smart.
Martian said, “Stop nitpicking where it needn’t be done. You’re looking to find fault.”
I always wanted to meet someone who could read my heart. I just never knew it would be you, Martian.
When you deliberately misspell my name as “Martian” repeatedly, you wear your heart on your sleeve. No need to try to read it; you display it and reveal to all what its character is.
And since you’re dabbling in philosophy, probably without credentials, but I don’t know, you need to distinguish between the phrase “one in substance” and “of the same substance”. Let’s put aside for the moment that the term “substance” is used in a newspaper article intended for the general public and that the word “substance” doesn’t appear in a quote attributed to Fr. Utzig. Let’s treat the phrase, as you want to, as a technical philosophical term for a professional audience.
In that case, the article says that everything living is “of the same substance”; it doesn’t say that everything living is “the same substance” nor “one in substance”. Your critique fails because the preposition “of” may be interpreted as indicating derivation instead of identity. All living things may be “of the same substance” while not being “one in substance”; all living things have a common origin, but they are not identical. That interpretation is reinforced by the quotes attributed to Fr. Utzig in the next paragraph: that human beings come from the earth and all creation is of the same earth that we are. He’s clearly talking about shared derivation, not identity.
So next time before you level charges of someone’s metaphysics being “a total mess” or claim that he “was never taught anything about form, or perhaps doesn’t care a bit about it,” or make unwarranted attacks on his theology, you should pay closer attention to the precise wording and meanings of what you are criticizing, for you could be misunderstanding it in your rush to find fault.
Calm down, Martian.
Now, getting to your claims, you say, “Your critique fails because the preposition ‘of’ may be interpreted as indicating derivation instead of identity,” and also, “He’s clearly talking about shared derivation, not identity.”
Clearly? You’re serious?
I’ll pretend you are, so notice that Utzi said, “They’re the same earth that we are—even the fertilizer.” And yet the logical import of that contraction “they’re” is one of identity. So, actually, Martian is quite wrong to say Father is “clearly talking about shared derivation, not identity.”
Anyway, the metaphysics that Utzi’s language invites, if not the one he actually intended, is a total mess, and he should’ve never used that language, especially if it’s not what he intended.
Have a good day, Martian.
When I barely believed that there was a God, finding out that all things living and non-living were made from the same chemical substances convinced me that there was a Creator.
I know what you mean, Anonymous clergy. My grandparents taught me “Waste not want not”, but instead of calling it “Earth Day”, we callled it back then “being good stewards of the earth”, putting man in God’s image I would say, thus avoiding Pantheism. Pantheists we Christians are not.
See? It’s not the TLM that attracts the youth… it’s environmentalism and doing real-world, practical things that make life better and instill a sense of union with God and his creation Kudos to this visionary parish.
Bishop Barron has said that a way to reach millennials is to emphasize the church’s social justice teachings because they are really into social justice.
Anonymous: “Bishop Barron has said . . .”
Stop. Just stop. Seriously.
Love you Juan!
I disagree with Bishop Barron– I think he has too many foolish secular “media” gimmicks. The way to reach anyone of any nationality, race, sex or age, in any era– is just by your love and enthusiasm for Christ and His Gospel! Millions will come to your doorstep for Him– and will soon fall in love with Him, and follow Him!
Gimmicks? Like a quality, hit DVD series about Catholicism? Like a YouTube channel whose videos get millions of views? Like being one of the most sought-after conference speakers? Like engaging with nonbelievers?
Maybe you’re right, let’s just be Amish and see how that works out.
Vatican II was all about engaging with the modern world. We need to do more of that!!! Bishop Barron uses media effectively to reach people where they are.
Trying to “reach people” with use of superficial, flashy “hits” and tasteless, tacky, pagan media “gimmicks” never results in lasting conversions to Our Lord. How about the real thing? Honest preaching and teaching always brings millions to Our Lord. Many today, lack honesty and deep reverence and respect for Him.
Be careful whom you stereotype!
Love the traditional Latin Mass, and have St. Fiacre in my garden. Always tried to be a “Good Steward” of the earth, and have no problem separating discarded food into recycle bins for compost. In fact some Democrat relatives are the ones who complain most about sorting into recycling bins. I know a lady who goes to the traditional Latin Mass who was an arborist and sometimes pruned roses at a Catholic Shrine with both forms of the mass.
BTW, my St. Fiacre has been in the same place too long and is getting a hole in his head from the rain — time to move him.
I also put my coffee grounds around my roses as a fertilizing mulch. Do not use too much, though. You can find how to do it on websites. St. Therese would like that as it is not poisonous. Snails love pans of beer; they go into them and die happily.
The Old Testament has some very good ideas about planting, rotating crops, and letting the ground rest. Israel did that every seven years — see Leviticus 25:4.
Will there be Felt Banners? Asking for a friend.
OMG felt banners? Watch out for trads hanging themselves by their mantillas!
Your response, Anonymous just about does it for me. I’m no longer going to look every morning at the CCD.
Larry, we need to unite with our Lord and overlook insults, bear wrongs patiently and love our enemies.
It is really just an immature person who is having fun at someone else’s expense.
I have been guilty of this as well and I repent.
Trads don’t kill themselves but LGBT types do, Put down the snark and pray for them, many of whom are poorly catechised Catholics who made felt banners in their CCD classes and did not learn the One True Faith.
Lgbt people don’t make felt banners. They make them out of silk, satin, and lace.
Working in the garden? Awesome. That spiritual exercise goes back for many centuries. Beginning the day with the morning office, Adoration Mass, breakfast, working in the garden, noon prayer, lunch working in the garden, afternoon prayer, working in the garden, supper, evening prayer, recreation, Adoration, night prayer, bed….working in the garden is awesome!!!!
Good for you, Mark. Before the modern era, nearly every family either owned a farm, or cultivated a garden, in America. Everyone used to know lots and lots, from working the land, all about Nature, every little part of the land, wild animals and birds, weather patterns, all sorts of things. Talented chefs knew just what kind of produce, grown in particular ways, often by talented gardeners, to be appropriate for their special culinary offerings. Winemakers also were trained– and still are — to cultivate their grapes in certain ways, for optimal results. The Harvest season every year, was a time of thanksgiving to God, for all our blessings. There was more respect and appreciation for Nature, and the glory of God was perceived and understood well, in the beauty and perfect designs, inherent in all Nature. Everything could be easily seen, in God’s perfect designs, to have its own, perfect place and purpose, in God’s Mother Nature, all perfectly working together. All things, with their place and purpose, were necessary– for example, the tiny bees, to pollinate all the plants! Modern man has almost lost connections with the natural world, which we always depend on, for life, for survival. We are richly blessed by God, with all we have been given! The Garden of Eden must have been so beautiful.
The term Ember days refers to three days set apart for fasting, abstinence, and prayer during each of the four seasons of the year. The purpose of their introduction was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.
Mark, that’s all good. But, according to the story, these children didn’t attend Mass, Adoration or pray any of the Hours.
Our concern for the environment should be in the context of Christian life. A homily, and I’ve heard them, on “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is not the gospel. And, I do reduce, reuse and recycle because this planet is all we have until the return of the Lord. While biologically like other animals, these children are infinitely more precious. Are we teaching them the surpassing value of human life?
Maybe Father goofed a bit, in his science lesson. But no one can argue with the Bible. “The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7)
And when we die and are buried, “to dust we return,” eventually. Our bodies, “six feet under,” are said to eventually disintegrate into dust, and help fertilize the ground in which the flowers later grow and blossom. Yes, it’s true, everything in Nature is totally interrelated, and it all works together for good, as God intended. We can find all we need, in Mother Nature, to feed and clothe, provide warm homes, and give medicines for our children and families. Water is a necessity for all living beings, including human beings. We are all interconnected with Nature, for our very survival! Even in the Biblical era, that was understood. You must pray for rain to grow your crops, in years of drought– or famine and death may soon follow. That is one universally-known, simple fact! It is also a source of jokes, in Church circles today– that St. John Henry Cardinal Newman ordered, in his Will, for a heap of gardening compost to be tossed into his grave at his burial– presumably to hasten the decomposition of his body.
And it worked. It seems that no one knows the reason why he made this strange request.
Well, if I were the priest of this church, I would help parishioners plant a large community garden, to feed needy families– and maybe sell some produce at a local Farmer’s Market.
Can’t wait for Utzig’s new book: Composting for Dummies: Catholics go Green.
Is human composting different than
Any substantial difference?
Asking for a friend.
Loan Ranger— Composting of human remains is forbidden by the Catholic Church.
Yes, if your body’s parts aren’t all in the same place, God will have difficulty reassembling your body for resurrection and glorification at the end of the world. That’s what a catechist told me about why the church doesn’t permit scattering ashes at sea.
The Almighty God?
In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.