Dicastery invites pastors to prepare for the Season of Creation as part of their pastoral leadership, and invites communities to celebrate life and protect God’s creation.
A new letter from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development highlights the importance of the Season of Creation, a global ecumenical celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home.
The letter, available here, encourages pastors to celebrate the season. It includes an invitation to Catholic communities from this dicastery, Global Catholic Climate Movement, and Red Eclesial Panamazónica, available here, that offers ideas for celebrations, such as incorporating creation care into liturgy, forming committees to promote integral ecology, and participating in advocacy.
During the month-long Season of Creation, Christians on six continents work to put Laudato Si’ into practice. They participate in community events to deepen their love for Creator, creation, and each other. Events are particular to each community, and range from worship and prayer services to litter pick-ups to calls for policy changes to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
These celebrations are integrated into the annual calendar of parishes and dioceses all around the world. Many parishes are planning their events now, and the letter to pastors and invitation to Catholic communities encourages them to plan and host an event. More information about events is at the Season of Creation website, SeasonofCreation.org.
An ecumenical steering committee suggests a theme for each year’s seasonal celebration. The theme for 2019 is “the web of life,” a theme that reflects both our role as the stewards of creation and the urgent need to protect the rich tapestry of biodiversity that the Creator has woven. Species loss is accelerating, with a recent United Nations report estimating that our way of life threatens 1 million species with extinction. That is approximately one in nine of all species on Earth.
The invitation to Catholic communities more fully describes the connection between this theme and the upcoming Synod of Bishops for the Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazon Region, which is the first to focus on the application of integral ecology. The synod begins on 6 October, just after the Season of Creation concludes.
The letter encouraging participation in the Season of Creation is signed by Mons. Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. Its prefect, Cardinal Peter Turkson, previously co-signed a letter of support for the Season of Creation alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, the representative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and others. The text affirmed that “As the environmental crisis deepens, we Christians are urgently called to witness to our faith by taking bold action to preserve the gift we share. As the psalmist sings, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1-2). During the Season of Creation, we ask ourselves: Do our actions honour the Lord as Creator?”
The Season of Creation is celebrated across the ecumenical Christian family, including the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Alliance. A list of members of the steering committee is here.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which is committed “to spread a culture of respect for the planet and the human being,” collaborated on the invitation to Catholic communities with Global Catholic Climate Movement, which helps coordinate activities for the season in Catholic communities, and Red Eclesial Panamazónica, which is supporting activities for the synod on the Amazon.
Mons. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery, has highlighted that “taking care of creation helps to protect the heritage that the Creator has given to us. An essential heritage for our well-being. As Pope Francis has said in Laudato Si’, ‘Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.’ (LS 139). Protecting this heritage – added Duffé – is a way to fulfil our role as guardians of creation. Because as Pope Benedict XVI said in the meeting with the Clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, ‘the task of “subduing” it was never intended as an order to enslave it but rather as the task of being guardians of creation and developing its gifts.”
Tomás Insua, executive director of Global Catholic Climate Movement, said, “We celebrate the Season of Creation every year because it’s essential to our faith. Honouring the Creator, protecting the most vulnerable–these are the core values we embrace as Catholics and as Christians. Tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters come together for this season each year. It’s part of the annual calendar in many communities, and it’s a beautiful time to focus on our love for Creator and creation.”
Mauricio Lopez, executive secretary of Red Eclesial Panamazónica, said, “We welcome the Season of Creation and all those who protect the web of life. More than 87,000 people have joined discussions to prepare for the synod and to discover the Amazonian face of the Church. The Season of Creation is an opportunity to reflect on the ways we love cultures in all their diversity, especially the diversity of communities in the Amazon. It’s an opportunity to love the face of God and how it presents itself in the Amazon. We can involve ourselves with our most vulnerable neighbours and the place they occupy in creation.”
With thanks to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.