Praying for (and beyond) Paris

With #Pray4COP21, the Global Catholic Climate Movement launches bold, first-of-its kind global prayer campaign for December’s COP21 climate talks

[Ed. Note: With the 13 November attacks on Paris and its people, many readers have come to this post when searching the internet for prayers and Paris. While this post, written in September 2015, does not address the recent attacks, I have posted here on that tragedy.]

Big day today, folks. The Global Catholic Climate Movement (or "GCCM") launched a first-of-its-kind online three-month prayer chain seeking divine guidance for December’s United Nations climate negotiations in Paris.

In an unabashedly Church-meets-State moment, #Pray4COP21 is calling prayer warriors across the globe to do their part to sustain 2,000 hours of non-stop prayer. These global, united prayers seek God’s grace to ennoble the powers of the world that they may forge a strong, ambitious, and fair climate treaty at December’s 21st Conference of Parties Climate Summit.

GCCM co-founder (and our group's humble task-master and leader) Tomás Insua reminds us that “St. Paul says to ‘Pray without ceasing.’ The prayer chain is a concrete and reflective way to bring our spiritual heritage to the urgency of the climate situation and the significance of COP21.”

With #Pray4COP21, GCCM joins Pope Francis in his call to the whole human family to act on the ecological crisis, as well as his calls for moral courage and prudent action from world leaders, in particular at COP21. (After last year’s climate summit in Peru, Pope Francis expressed that he “was disappointed by the lack of courage” of the participants, and his “hope that in Paris the delegates will be more courageous and will move forward with climate action.”)

In addition to praying for a positive outcome from the summit, #Pray4COP21 participants will be praying for communities affected by climate disruption, including the growing number of “climate refugees.”

As I've noted often, prayer is one of the unique and necessary gifts that people of faith bring to eco-issues.

The online system allows “pray-ers” to choose up to four hours of prayer time similar to booking seats on an airline flight.

In the Book of Genesis we learn that humanity can easily break our relationship with God. And with each other. Prayer is a way to mend that. It's a way to thwart the designs of our ancient enemy, who will certainly be spreading discord and despair as he prowls throughout Paris during the UN talks.

This is why we must pray for the gatherings of COP21. Prayer is a way to build relationships and encounter grace. From Moses to Elijah, Samuel to David, and throughout the life of the Church, we have appealed to God for the virtue and strength to live as God asks. Not to mention for salvation.

The #Pray4COP21 follows in that tradition.

Helping this ancient practice is the modern wizardry of the web: The #Pray4COP21 online system allows “pray-ers” to choose up to four hours of prayer time similar to booking seats on an airline flight. Parishes or religious communities with perpetual adoration can register separately to adopt a longer prayer period.

Jacqui Remond, a fellow GCCM co-founder and National Director of Catholic EarthCare in Australia says that “#Pray4COP21 will link together the prayers of believers in every continent, reflecting the truly “Catholic” nature of our Church. The global nature of the climate crisis demands a global response of spiritual and political action.”

Another fellow GCCMer co-founder and OurVoices Asia Coordinator Ciara Shannon added that “to pray for 89 days is a profound way to show solidarity for climate action. The prayer chain has many prayers to follow, often people ask me for direction for the right words to say for climate change action—you can find all of that within #Pray4COP21.”

The prayer chain supports the GCCM’s petition that asks world leaders to keep global average temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.

Please share news of #Pray4COP21 and make sure to sign up for a time to pray yourself. There’s plenty of prayer resources to help, including this special prayer for COP21 that I was honored to be tasked with drafting.

Stay tuned for much more on this and other initiatives from GCCM, our partners, and many Catholics (and people of all faiths) in the weeks and months ahead.

But for now, let us pray.

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.