Many Christian communities internationally celebrate the Season of Creation, the annual festival of prayer and action for our common home – Earth – between 1 September and 4 October, the Feast of St Francis. This year, more Catholics are getting involved than ever before.
The theme this year is ‘The Web of Life’, respecting the glory of the Creator that each of God’s creatures reveals, and repenting extinction of hundreds of other species each year. Pope Francis warned in his 2015 encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’’ that “because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us; we have no such right.”
Columban eco-theologian Sean McDonagh says: “People of faith need to become advocates for policies which protect other species and they also need to act to stem the tide of extinction”. He encourages liturgies that will “encourage people of faith to take the destruction of biodiversity much more seriously”.
The season could start for parishes with a Laudato Si’ Mass on 1 September – the day designed by Pope Francis as a Day of Prayer for Care of Creation. A wealth of resources are available.
This year the Day of Prayer for Care of Creation on 1 September falls on a Sunday.
Liturgies for this Sunday and for the Sundays of Creation Time (1 September – 4 October) have been produced by Australian Columban priest Charles Rue, who is based in Australia. They are available for downloading. The two-page September Resources follow a set schema. Each begins with extracts from the designated Scripture readings of the Catholic Lectionary for a particular Sunday. These Scriptural extracts are to be read with ecological eyes as the starting point to draw out implications concerning creation. They indicate: a grace to remember about God’s outpouring of love in creation; what to give thanks for; and they offer a basis for intercessions.
Season of Creation Resource Year C
Liturgical ideas for 1 September have also been produced by the Catholic Climate Covenant
A Season of Creation Celebration Guide is available on the theme: Web of life
This ecumenical resource for downloading offers a special prayer and an Ecumenical Prayer Service.