Father Mark Stec, East Vicariate Vicar Forane, blessed the seeds as well as the people, the animals, the fields and soil, and the machinery April 18 at the farm of Byron and Donna Zwilling near Dundas.
Six generations of Zwillings have lived, raised their families and grown crops within a mile of this farm. Byron is the brother of Father Robert Zwilling, at far right in the photo, who is pastor at St. Mary in Mt. Carmel and Rural Life Director for the diocese. Each year the Diocese of Belleville celebrates the planting in the spring and the harvest in the fall with a blessing for all farmers who till the soil and care for the land as they feed the people of the world.
In his homily Father Stec said: “For most of human history, faith in God was inseparable from agriculture. The very word agriculture refers to the religious culture that centered on the cycles of planting and harvesting. When we move away from the land where there is a natural sense of the creation as a gift, we lose our sense of our dependency on the giver of the gift,” i.e., God.
“The cycles of nature provide a central analogy for life in Christ. The life we have ‘in Christ is planted within us and grows according to the same principles of nature we observe in the field. On Easter Day, when the body of Jesus came forth from the tomb, he was the first of many dead to be ‘harvested’ or raised to new life,” Father Stec said. “Pentecost is the completion of that harvest. When the Holy Spirit descends upon the whole body of believers, the whole body is raised up to new life in Christ.”
The group gathered at the farm then prayed the rosary as it moved from station to station for the blessings.