By: Ellen Teague
This 1 September will be the third special Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, initiated by Pope Francis in 2015. The day of prayer, the Pope says, gives individuals and communities an opportunity to implore God’s help in protecting creation and an opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness “for sins committed against the world in which we live”. The annual Day of Prayer is inspired by his landmark encyclical Laudato Si’, which calls on "every person living on this planet" to care for our shared Earth. Last year, Pope Francis led vespers for the Day in St. Peter’s Basilica. Similar prayer services were held around the world. Pope Francis said our ways of living “urgently need to be redirected to the common good”.
Then, the ecumenical initiative of Creation Time will run from 1 September – 4 October 2017. On 24 September, a special symbolic action will take place in Taize, France at the European Conference of Justice and Peace Commissions. Titled “Communion to respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” several bishops’ conferences including the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), and Conference of European Churches (CEC) will mark the occasion. In addition, Christian communities will be engaging in symbolic actions in front of coal mines, fracking wells, and other sites of ecological destruction where fossil fuels are produced.
Last year, the Season of Creation was a powerful time for Christians around the globe to unite in prayer, reflection, and action on behalf of creation. Representatives from different Christian churches, for example, led an online Ecumenical Prayer Service on 1 September for the World Day of Prayer for Creation. It was a powerful gathering joined by hundreds around the globe on the Season of Creation website and will be happening again this year. There will be a media announcement of further Catholic groups disinvesting from fossil fuels on 4 October 2017.
The Columban missionaries have prepared a special webpage at: www.columbans.co.uk/creation-time/
It contains posters, sample services and other resources for the Day of Prayer and Creation Time. You may be particularly interested in the new resource prepared by Liverpool J&P and CAFOD.
CAFOD Prayer Vigil - World Day Of Prayer for Care of Creation https://cafod.org.uk/News/Campaigning-news/World-Day-of-Prayer
The Global Catholic Climate Coalition is offering further resources – including a sample prayer service and toolkit - and taking registrations of global initiatives for Creation Time 2017 at www.seasonofcreation.org. Please encourage your parishes to register. In England, many Anglican churches have signed up, for example up to 380 parishes Gloucestershire.
And you might like to see details of the Laudato Si Pledge: https://catholicclimatemovement.global/pr-laudato-si-pledge/
And the Live Simply Parish Award: https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/How-to-campaign/Livesimply-award
Plus, the campaign ‘Towards Fossil-free Churches’: http://brightnow.org.uk/