Pope Francis has established 1 September as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, encouraging the Catholic community around the world to pray for "our common home."
The day is inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si', which calls on "every person living on this planet" to care for our shared Earth.
He calls us all to celebrate this opportune moment to "reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork entrusted to our care, and to implore God's help for the protection of creation, as well as pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live."
This World Day of Prayer begins the Season of Creation, which runs until 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi. This is an ecumenical season dedicated to prayer for the protection of creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles.
Key messages from Pope Francis include the following:
- We are called to protect creation and we are missing the mark. "Something good in the eyes of God has become something exploitable in human hands."
- The Season of Creation is a time for prayer in nature. "This is the time to re-acquaint ourselves with praying immersed in nature, where our gratitude to the creator God arises spontaneously."
- The Season of Creation is a time to grow in sustainability. "This is the time to reflect on our lifestyles . Let's change and adopt simpler and more respectful lifestyles!"
- The Season of Creation is a time to urge governments to enact better climate policies. "This is the time to take prophetic actions" and governments have the task of "demonstrating political will to drastically hasten their measures to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible . . . in line with the Paris Agreement goals."
There are many resources available to help celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and Creation Time and to respond individually and in parishes or groups. We have a responsibility to care for creation and to encourage others.
Resources are available at: www.lancasterfaithandjustice.co.uk/newsletter/creation-season/
The August 2020 newsletter of Lancaster Faith and Justice can be downloaded at: https://tinyurl.com/y5boe86c
Maggie McSherry is the Administrator of Lancaster Diocesan Faith & Justice Commission.
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