Pope Francis has declared Thursday, September 1, 2016,
World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
According to Pope Francis, “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 ….”
Officially joining the Orthodox Church in this day of concern for creation, Pope Francis invites everyone — believers or not — to participate in both prayer and action.
“ ‘Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.’ ” (Earth Charter, quoted in Laudato Si’ par. 207)
Many will use the following prayer, found in the Pope’s encyclical letter Laudato Si’:
A Prayer for Our Earth (Laudato Si’ following par. 246)
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.
Possibilities of action for living simply and sustainably are endless, but the ones below make a major impact. These actions interconnect with others, especially care of water:
1. Contemplate creation’s beauty, mystery, and interconnections, and rejoice in the divine presence living and acting in our world.
2. Vote for candidates proven to care for all creation, to resolve conflicts nonviolently, to assist the poor, and to increase love on our planet.
3. Lobby legislators on issues of importance for people and planet, such as:
invest in renewable energy; stop subsidies to fossil fuels
increase negotiating skills; stop expansion of weapons systems
foster organic agriculture; stop monocrops and toxic chemicals
4. Reduce extraction and use of fossil fuels:
transition to renewable energy at home and work
reduce use of plastic, especially plastic water bottles and plastic bags
reduce gasoline use by reducing car and plane trips and staying
below 60 on highways
5. Eat responsibly for the planet
reduce factory-farmed meat consumption
increase fair trade, organic, and local produce (and products)
6. Protect trees
reduce paper use
use 100% sustainable paper
plant trees and/or support groups that do
8. Reduce consumerism
make do with what you have whenever possible
share when possible
buy recycled goods