The Season of Creation begins with prayer

Pope Francis calls for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1st, which will kick off almost five weeks for heightened creation-care awareness

If you want to see the Church embrace eco-protection, just watch our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. Beginning September 1st, Catholics in the Philippines will again be celebrating the Season of Creation, and if eco-advocates around the world have their way, so will the rest of us.

Observed by Christian denominations under various names, the Season of Creation is now a staple in the life of the Archdiocese of Manila and throughout the Philippines.

Starting on September 1st—a day traditionally observed in the Orthodox Church as a day of prayer for creation—and concluding on October 4th—the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi—the Season of Creation will offer Catholics the opportunity to showcase in our lives the importance of thanking God for the goodness of creation.

It’s also a time to spread awareness of the crises within many of the ecosystems of the world.

And it's a time to remember the importance placed on creation at every Mass we celebrate throughout the year. The restoration of all things is foreshadowed in the sacrifice of bread and wine—the fruits of the earth and work of human hands—each time we celebrate the Mass and receive Holy Communion. (Perhaps we don't focus on this enough, and if not, the Season of Creation can help us remember.)

Last year’s Season of Creation in the Philippines resonated with so many throughout the universal Church that today there is a call for Catholics everywhere to take part this year.

"We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment …” Pope Francis, Laudato Si' (123)

The Philippines will be kicking off the Season on September 1st with an “Ecological Holy Hour” at Manila’s Cathedral (dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The holy hour will immediately be followed by a concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration led by Cardinal Louis Tagle.

Once again, Pope Francis's friend and confidant Cardinal Tagle and the Catholics of the Philippines are leading by example. Prayer is exactly what the Holy Father has called for on September 1st.

In his announcement for the day of prayer, Pope Francis said that

The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of the Day on the same date as the Orthodox Church will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers.

While the pontiff's announcement about the September 1st day of prayer did not officially endorse the full "Season of Creation," that may come soon as he and Church officials continue to highlight the importance of integral ecology, human dignity, and creation care.

Resources to help

Individuals and parish teams don’t need to start from scratch when planning activities for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, or for the Season of Creation.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement has posted an extensive resource page to help.

Of special note is this prayer sign-up feature that will go live on September 1st. This unique tool will allow prayer warriors around the world to sign up for hours to pray for creation care—and especially for good outcomes at the Paris climate talks in December.

And check out these prayer resources offered by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as these from the Catholic Climate Covenant, including prayers and recommended scriptures and hymns.

The Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center also offers a generous collection of Catholic quotes, statements, and writings on ecology and the environment, including those of many saints.

No matter how you and your parish or diocese participate, the Season of Creation will soon be an all-hands-on-deck moment for the universal Church. Your participation will help make this a time to pray and act to protect the world God gave us—and to make this season and this day of prayer a part of the life of the Church from now until the end of time.

Photo: Easter Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary in Zagreb on April 05, 2015

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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.