Today is the start of the annual, ecumenical Season of Creation. Pope Francis and the Australian Bishops encourage all Catholics to make this a special time of prayer and action in caring for our common home.
The current lockdown prohibits us from communal actions and activities outdoors, but prayer is always possible. Furthermore, online activities in the Diocese of Parramatta and beyond can be found at: parracatholic.org/seasonofcreation. This website also provides you with helpful resources for prayer, liturgy and COVID-safe actions.
The Season starts on 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It continues until 4 October, the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, who is considered the patron saint of our natural environment and care for creation.
As the Australian Catholic Bishops explain in their Social Justice Statement 2021-22 “Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor”, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation was initiated in 1989 by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Dimitrios I. The practice spread to other Christian communities around the world, and in 2015, Pope Francis formally invited Catholics to join in celebrating this day.
The idea of continuing prayer and action for creation over another four weeks was developed in the Uniting Church of Australia, and soon taken up by the international ecumenical movement through the World Council of Churches. The Season of Creation is now celebrated by Christians around the globe. While it is not an official liturgical season like Lent or Eastertide in the Catholic liturgical calendar, Pope Francis invites Catholics to join the ecumenical family in celebrating the Season of Creation, as the Australian Bishops affirm. An unofficial but inspiring Catholic liturgical resource can be found here.
Season of Creation 2021: a “critical moment for Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable”
Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has recently recalled this invitation on behalf of the Pope for 2021. Duffé points out that this year’s Season of Creation will be a “critical moment for Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf ahead of two important summits.” After the Season of Creation, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the UN Biodiversity Convention (COP15) will take place.
Monsignor Duffé invites Catholics to join advocacy initiatives such as the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition. Two of the many other simple actions you can take:
- Join Catholic Earthcare Australia’s Season of Creation campaign and share your actions on social media using the hashtag #act4ourcommonhome.
- Adopt one new daily habit for a healthy planet. You can find ideas and encouragement by joining the “Healthy Habits for a Healthy Planet” Season of Creation Challenge.
Find more ideas at: parracatholic.org/seasonofcreation
A great prayer that can accompany you through this Season of Creation has been published on one of five prayer cards together with the Social Justice Statement “Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor”:
Sebastian Salaske-Lentern is the Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator of the Diocese of Parramatta.
Tomorrow night the Season of Creation will be the topic of our BE MET online gathering as part of the HOME Ground program. Join in the discussion on how you can unite with Pope Francis, the Australian Bishops and Christians around the globe to make #SeasonOfCreation a special time of prayer and action for our common home. Our special Season of Creation BE MET online gathering takes place on Thursday 2 September 2021 at 7:30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.