The Viatorian Community Garden doubled in size this year, with 25 raised beds and gardeners coming from throughout the area to help grow vegetables for the food pantry.

Fr. Charles Bolser, left, with Associate John Dussman

On Saturday, their efforts drew a special blessing when Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, stopped by. In past years, Fr. Bolser has worked in the garden himself, and he readily affirms its mission to feed the hungry.

Under a bright sunny sky and dressed in his stole, he opened with a scripture passing. Next, he offered this blessing: “May God bless you as you till the soil, plant the seeds — and make an effort to bring life out of the ground. May God bless all that you do so that you may know the joy of his gifts.”

With that, Fr. Bolser proceeded to sprinkle every plot with water as he made his way around the garden.

Associate John Dussman, who coordinates the garden with Ed Flynn, asked Fr. Bolser to bless the plots with the hopes of having an abundant harvest. He also saw the gathering as an opportunity to build community with fellow gardeners, and that’s just what happened.

One of the Arlington Heights Garden Club members, Delores Shurman, offered tips on how to prune tomato plants so as to avoid them getting infected with a fungus. Two plots over, Dwayne Anderson, a member of the First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights team, came straight from working at Pesche’s Garden Center. He readily answered questions from gardeners about different products available to keep their plants healthy.

The Viatorian Community Garden is in its 10th year this summer. Over its past seasons, the garden has averaged nearly 1,000 pounds of vegetables for area food pantries. With doubling the number of beds — and many more gardening partners — Viatorians hope to produce even more nutritious produce for hungry families. Now, with Fr. Bolser’s blessing, they are confident in an abundant harvest.