It’s hard to imagine anyone being opposed to caring for our planet. After all, it’s our home – if we don’t take proper care of it, we are the ones who will suffer. But despite recent warnings from scientists that the Earth is in serious trouble, our response has been half-hearted.
Leave it to Pope Francis to give the conversation a boost of energy with a healthy dose of faith! First, in May of this year, he published an encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home). He addressed it to all people – not just Catholics, and not even just Christians – because the topic so important for us all. Then he announced that the Catholic Church would join the Orthodox Church in marking the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to be celebrated every year on September 1st. That’s today!
On this day, the Pope invites us to “renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” Wherever we live, we are called to embrace this vocation, taking small and large steps to clean up our common home and entrust a healthy planet to our children and grandchildren.
Here are a few ways to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in your family, parish or community:
• Write your own prayer to praise and thank God for all God has created. For inspiration, read St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures. Post your prayer on social media, on the fridge or anywhere others can see it.
• Start a list of actions you can take at home, in your community or at work to better care for the environment. Add a new action item each month.
How fitting that this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation takes place on September 1st. Even though the new calendar year starts on January 1st, many of us find that the beginning of September is the time to set goals, start new projects and get down to work or studies. This is an ideal moment to make caring for our common home a priority.
-Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor
Study the pope’s encyclical! Order our group reading guide and discuss with others the pope’s important message.