September 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm #19798
This article was sent to me by a group I belong to. Pope Francis has called for all Catholics along with many other Christians from various churches that are willing to participate to celebrate ‚ÄúThe Season of Creation‚ÄĚ. It is a month long prayerful observation beginning today September 1st and going through the Feast of Saint Francis on October 4th. It is a yearly event added for the first time by Pope Francis who officially placed it on the Catholic liturgical calendar last year. Enclosed find an article which explaining further what it is all about. I agree with Pope Francis that the care and concern for creation is our duty and that we should be praying for and finding ways of saving and protecting the planet we live on. It is also fulfilling the commandment at the time if the creation of humans giving us dominion or responsibility for the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
I present the enclosed article as food for thought and discernment on how we may¬† along with¬† our individual churches may wish to join with our fellow Catholic brothers and sisters as well as many Christians throughout the world in celebrating this Season of Creation during the next month and again next year and into the future.
Brother Lawrence Damien CoS
Season of Creation marks month of eco-contemplation for Christians
Christians across the globe Thursday joined in celebrating the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, but for many the day only marks the beginning of a longer contemplation on the planet the pope regularly refers to as our common home.
The Season of Creation is a month-long prayerful observation of the state of the world, its beauty and the ecological crises that threaten it and all its inhabitants. It runs from Sept. 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, through Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
For many Catholics, the day of prayer for creation landed on their radar for the first time last year after Pope Francis officially placed it on the Catholic liturgical calendar. Because of the timing — Francis instituted the annual prayer day just three weeks before Sept. 1 — many Catholic groups scrambled to piece together small celebrations with an eye toward larger, more coordinated events this year.
At the Vatican Thursday, Francis helped kick off the Season of Creation by celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Creation that urged Catholics to view care for creation among the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
July 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded — with modern records extending back 136 years — and 15 consecutive months of record global heat. NASA has projected 2016 will eclipse 2015 as the warmest year on record, which would make it 16 of the 17 warmest years on record since 1880 occurring since 2001 (the remaining year, 1998, is tied for 6th on the list).
A Christian tradition of creation care
While 2016 marks the first year of concerted Catholic participation in the Season of Creation, other Christian denominations have recognized it for decades.
A common origin point is 1989, when Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed Sept. 1 as a day of prayer for creation in the Orthodox church. From there, faith communities, often at the parish and grassroots levels, began extending the celebration beyond a day throughout the month and until the Assisi feast.
One of the earliest organized celebrations of the season occurred in 2000 at a Lutheran church in Adelaide, South Australia. Three years later, the Catholic bishops of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement creating a day and season for creation, with different dioceses then adding them to their calendars in subsequent years. In 2007 the Third European Ecumenical Assembly adopted it, with the World Council of Churches following suit the next year.
It‚Äôs been the passion at the local level that has grown the Season of Creation into something bigger, said Episcopal Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. That the pope, ecumenical patriarch and the archbishop of Canterbury now all recognize it ‚Äúrepresents an affirmation of the really good work that people all over the world, that Christians all over the world have been doing,‚ÄĚ he told NCR.
For many, the day and season have come to symbolize not only collective awareness of the responsibility to properly tend to the earth, but also a gathering point for all Christians and faiths.
‚ÄúI can‚Äôt think of many themes and specific campaigns that bring Christians together at such scale as this one,‚ÄĚ said Tomas Insua, co-founder and global coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, who added that this year‚Äôs efforts mark a first in terms of global coordination around the season.
Prayer and action
The 300-plus climate network of Catholic organizations has led coordinating efforts for the 2016 Season of Creation along with the Pope‚Äôs Worldwide Prayer Network, which produces the monthly papal prayer intention videos. For the Season of Creation, it released a modified version of Francis‚Äô February prayer intention calling for care for creation. [The prayer intention for September is for the centrality of the human person.]
‚ÄúAs we are [the pope‚Äôs] official service of prayer we couldn’t miss this project,‚ÄĚ said Jesuit Fr. Fr√©d√©ric Fornos, international director of the Pope‚Äôs Worldwide Prayer Network (formerly called the Apostleship of Prayer).
Fornos¬†said the pope encourages all the Catholic church to be engaged in the day of prayer and the spiritual and lifestyle transformations he has called for in his encyclical ‚ÄúLaudato Si‚Äô, on Care for Our Common Home.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHe gave us the direction, and then we commit ourselves,‚ÄĚ Fornos told NCR in an email.
During a private audience Thursday morning, Fornos¬†said Francis was aware of the ecumenical initiatives planned around the World Day of Prayer.
Other sponsors of the Season of Creation include the World Council of Churches, GreenFaith, the ACT Alliance and the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.
Events around the Season of Creation began Thursday morning with an ecumenical online prayer service. Almost 200 additional prayer services on six continents have been planned, according to the Global Catholic Climate Movement. A map of the various events is on its website and the Season of Creation website.¬†Insua told NCR roughly half of the celebrations are ecumenical.
Prayer is essential to the season, said Fornos.
‚Äú[C]hanging our lifestyle is not enough, because change requires a deep conversion. It is the prayer, closeness to Jesus, at his word, which can transform our hearts and our lives and help us to live everyday with a simple way and solidarity style,‚ÄĚ he told NCR.
Along with the pope‚Äôs video, people can pray with Francis though the Pope‚Äôs Worldwide Prayer Network by using its Click To Pray app. The daily prayer for Thursday read in part, ‚ÄúFather of All Creation, on this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, I am thankful for the beauty of the world that you have created for all your children. Help me to live each day aware of my vocation as a steward of your creation and work with others for the care of our common home.‚ÄĚ
In addition to prayer, many have used the Season of Creation as occasion to live out their litanies.
On Thursday morning the English charity Christian Aid announced that more than 3,500 churches in the United Kingdom have already or plan to substitute fossil fuels for renewable energy as an electricity source, including 2,000 parishes from 16 Catholic dioceses.
Along similar lines, the Global Catholic Climate Movement anticipates a major announcement at the season‚Äôs end of religious congregations divesting from fossil fuels. On the one-year anniversary of Francis‚Äô encyclical Laudato Si‚Äô, four Pacific-area religious orders announced their divestment intentions. Global Catholic Climate Movement will host a Sept. 7 webinar on divestment.
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