This is the final article by a member of the Livesimply team at the Parish of Our Lady and St Edmund of Abingdon in Abingdon, Portsmouth Diocese.
Coronavirus has altered or cancelled so many plans and arrangements for us all this year and that applies to the planning of how our parish, in Abingdon, is marking the Season of Creation which runs from 1st September to 4th October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi. With only 30 parishioners socially distanced at each of the two Sunday Masses, no offertory procession, no singing and no events in the Parish Centre, it was difficult to see how we could use some of the many resources - liturgical and otherwise - available this year.
However, we may only be a small masked congregation this year, but the live-streamed Masses have an on-line following of several hundred each Sunday.
So that was a challenge to think differently. Instead of symbolic gifts brought up in the offertory procession each Sunday there would be symbols in front of the altar. These and the bidding prayers would be related to a certain theme e.g. water, soil and saplings, plastic waste, community environmental action groups etc. The lectern would be decorated with the youth group's 'Care for Creation' hanging.
The Season of Creation's action calendar for the month is available on the parish website so that any parishioners or on-line visitors to the parish can take up the daily suggestions for practical actions as well as prayers and reflections.
As for the Creation Prayer Walk that we created and used last year, that would have to be used in a different way, we realised. Instead of a group experience reflecting on extracts from Laudato Si' at various stops in the town - by the water of the Thames, in the garden of the House that welcomes refugees, in the childrens' playground and amongst the trees of the Abbey park - this could be done as an individual or family activity, with the booklet available from the parish website.
Despite the restrictions of coronavirus, the opportunity is still there to realise afresh `just how inseparable is the bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace.`
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