Happy Labor Day weekend to you all. We are living in a period of rapid change in our environment. It is not a question of if there is climate change in our world today, but rather the rapid rate at which climate change is affecting our world. Whether we are looking at the amount of polar ice that is melting, the severity of weather patterns, or the current wildfires destroying thousands of miles of Amazon rain forest, God’s creation is being affected.
Today marks the beginning of the Season of Creation. From September 1 through the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4), the Christian community celebrates the Season of Creation by praying and acting together to protect our common home, the earth.
This “time for creation” offers, in the words of Pope Francis, “individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” (Pope Francis, “Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis For the Establishment of the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.” September 1, 2015.)
The theme of this year’s Season of Creation celebration is “the web of life.” We Catholics are uniting with others in the Christian family to protect every creature in God’s beautifully complex web of creation.
Some ways we can live out these three dimensions of Pope Francis’ call, as individuals and as a community include:
- Reaffirm Our Vocation as Stewards of Creation -Counteract the “Throwaway Culture” we have become accustom to by identifying ways in which we can choose reusables, rather than disposables; commit to reducing our dependence on plastic by using or buying in glass or paper.
- Thank God for His wonderful handiwork. Before and after meals, say a short prayer of thanksgiving for the lifegiving food that sustains and nourishes us. Give thanks to those that helped to bring food to our tables. Buy Fair Trade products to support local artisans and farmers and protect the environment.
- Implore God’s Help and Ask His Pardon. Use examination of conscience to help see the interconnectedness of our world and the impact our lifestyle and practices have on the environment and the people in the world.
Be sure to visit the Green Team’s table at the Ministry Fair for more information about Season of Creation and some practical suggestions to help you counter what Pope Francis refers to as our “throwaway culture.” Also check the kiosks in the Gathering Space for information on the Season of Creation.
For more resources related to care of creation, please visit the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops webpage on the Environment at usccb.org/environment.
(portions of the preceding copyrighted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. All quotes from Popes and Vatican sources, copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV), Vatican City. All rights reserved).
Deacon Rich Akins