Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Start your mornings with the good, the beautiful, the true... Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter!
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia



Pope Francis celebrates St. Francis’ feast day at event in Vatican Gardens


Tree-planting ceremony honors the saint who John Paul II named the patron of all who work to care for God’s creation

Click here to launch the slideshow

October 4 is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, and Pope Francis is the first pope in history to carry his name.

This year also marks 40 years since Pope Saint John Paul II proclaimed St. Francis the patron “of those who promote ecology.”

These elements came together for an event with which Pope Francis celebrated his “papal nameday”: a tree-planting in the Vatican Gardens.

The tree was a holm oak from Assisi. The name of the tree is believed to come from the old Anglo-Saxon word for “holly” – “holy.”

The soil in which the tree was planted came from the Amazon, celebrating the wealth of the bioregion’s cultures and traditions; from India, representing the countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis, where droughts and floods leave millions devastated; soil representing refugees and migrants, forced to leave their homes because of war, poverty, and ecological devastation. There was earth from places of human trafficking, and from sustainable development projects around the world. And there was more soil from the Amazon, earth bathed in the blood of those who have died fighting against its destruction.

The synod for the Amazon begins in two days, and the pope consecrated it to St. Francis.

In addition to being from Assisi, the tree now stands in soil from Assisi, where the saint composed the first part of his “Canticle of the Creatures”. Written in the 13th century, it is believed to be one of the first works of literature in the Italian language. A musical version of this prayer-poem accompanied the tree planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens.


Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.