The day has been celebrated as such by the Orthodox Churches since 1989; Pope Francis made it a day of prayer for creation in 2015. The Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch are preparing a joint message to be released this September 1, and churches around the globe will mark the day as the beginning of the Season of Creation which ends with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, on October 4.
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, raising to God our thanks for the marvelous 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.”
Why we should pray for the care of creation?
Bound by a sacred responsibility to care for God’s earth and to preserve it for the next generation, Creation Care and stewardship ministries are gaining popularity worldwide. You may have heard of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology and animals, and might even have a statue of his likeness in your garden. He was said to have a great love of animals and the environment, and is credited for connecting caring for the poor with caring for creation, making him the father of eco-justice. But did you know that people of faith around the world of all spiritual backgrounds are answering the call to protect the earth, and faith-based statements on climate change can be found across the spectrum of religious practices?
And we all have had this experience that When we are in nature we feel closest to God, and it seems to be a universal experience when witnessing a spectacular sunset at the beach, or a mountain vista that stretches for miles, to feel the breathtaking wonder and peace that can only be described as divine. Where our faith and love of nature intersected, we found Creation Care.
How to respond to the World Day of Prayer
There are many ways to respond to Pope Francis’ call to care for the gift of God’s creation: why not take some time out of your day on 1 September to walk in your local park or take a few moments to thank God for the flowers growing in your garden?
You can download this beautiful prayer: In union with creation and pray it on 1 September, knowing that millions of our brothers and sisters around the world will be joining in communion.
“Pope Francis is calling us to an ecological conversion,” says Susy Brouard, Theology Programme Adviser at CAFOD. “His encyclical reminds us that we have a responsibility to our earth, each other and to generations yet to come.
"The World Day of Prayer is another opportunity for us to connect with our creator God and allow the Lord to redefine our relationship with the environment: from one of consumption and control to one of care and protection".