September 1, 2017 — Two years ago, Pope Francis declared Catholics would join their Orthodox brothers and sisters and other Christians to formally mark September 1 as the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople released a joint environmental statement today for the World Day of Prayer for Creation.
"The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development," the statement said. “We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs."
Begun by the Orthodox Church in 1989, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation now marks the beginning of the monthlong Season of Creation ending on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, a campaign facilitated by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM).
The Season of Creation and other efforts are part of the response to Pope Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato Si', in which he delivered a call to action for people to be part of the solution to climate change.
The pope referenced the occasion in his August prayer intention video, praying that “artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may help everyone discover the beauty of creation.”
This year, the GCCM invites us all to become “artists” and participate in the #BeautyOfCreation social media campaign by taking photos or videos of places in nature where they appreciate the beauty of creation and adding the hashtag #BeautyOfCreation.
“As we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, let us answer Pope Francis’ invitation to all people ‘to adopt a respectful and responsible approach toward creation,’” said Cecilia Calvo, Senior Advisor on Environmental Justice for the advocacy office of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. She suggested that individuals participate in the Season of Creation by taking the Ignatian Carbon Challenge or checking out the Jesuit Conference’s Environmental Justice efforts.
“Let us look closely at how our life choices impact creation and the poor and vulnerable at home and around the world. Let us hold in our hearts and pray for all the people and families suffering from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey and pray for their protection and safe recovery.”
Below are further resources for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Read more about caring for our common home