The third World Day of Prayer for the Care of All Creation takes place on Friday 1 September 2017. Many local Church communities around the world also are preparing to mark Creation Time, which also begins on 1 September and continues until 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Creation Time celebrates the joy of creation and encourages awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.
The World Day of Prayer for the Care of All Creation was celebrated across Ireland for the past two years at the invitation of the Holy Father Pope Francis. The importance of caring for all creation was highlighted by Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), published in June 2015. In his encyclical, Pope Francis appealed to every person living on our planet to take care of our common home. He also called on us to think of those who are most acutely feeling the consequences of environmental degradation and destruction. He said, “These are some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the developing world. The injustice is all the greater since those affected have contributed least to the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources.”
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace proposed that the World Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for repentance for the ways in which our lifestyles may be contributing to the suffering of others. They said that we need to have the courage to hear the cry of the poor and see how this is connected to the cry of the earth.
Pope Francis reminds us that, “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” He points to our throwaway culture and asks that, “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”
Pope Francis has this week appealed for “a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation”. At his weekly General Audience, the Pope said that he has prepared a joint World Day of Prayer for Creation message with “our dear brother Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople”. The message will be released on 1 September.
“In the message,” the Holy Father said, “we invite all to assume a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation.” He said the two Church leaders “also appeal, to all who occupy influential roles, to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most from ecological imbalances.”
Recommended reading for Creation Time
- Laudato Si‘ – the 2015 encyclical letter from Pope Francis.
- Joint Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation [Available on 1 September]
- Show Mercy to our Common Home – Message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Prayer for Creation 2016
- Saint John Paul II’s Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation (1990)
- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation (2010)
- The Cry of the Earth – A Call to Action for Climate Justice, a pastoral reflection on climate change from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Prayers for Creation Time
Audio: Click here to listen to ‘A Prayer for Our Earth’ from Laudato Si’.
A prayer for our earth
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.
A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
You guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
10 Tweets from Pope Francis on Care for Creation
- Let us keep a place for Christ in our lives, let us care for one another and let us be loving custodians of creation.
- The world we have received also belongs to who will follow us.
- We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family.
- The deterioration of the environment and of society affect the most vulnerable people on the planet.
- The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
- What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?
- We need only to take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair. #LaudatoSi
- There is an urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. #LaudatoSi
- I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good.
- We must not let ourselves fall into the vortex of pessimism. Faith can move mountains.