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Pope Francis, after publishing his encyclical Laudato Si´ with a call “ecological conversion”, has established September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This date is already celebrated by the Orthodox Church, and the Pope has chosen to include it in the Catholic Church’s calendar to raise awareness on and to pray for the care of our planet.

In his latest encyclical letter, the Pope reminds us that “Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest”, adding that “Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded”.

This World Day of Prayer will be celebrated every year, as Francis seeks to encourage us to “renew our personal commitment to our calling as keepers of creation”. By choosing this date, the Pope also reinforces a “growing communion” with the Orthodox Church.

Here are some of the specific tips outlined for the Holy Father to encourage us to contribute to protecting and building our common home. These are small efforts that spread wellbeing –“They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread”.

  • Heating: the Pope advises us to wear warmer clothes and to avoid turning heaters on.
  • Avoiding the use of plastic and paper materials.
  • Reducing water consumption.
  • Separating waste.
  • Cooking only what is reasonably going to be eaten.
  • Treating other living beings with care.
  • Using public transportation or sharing a vehicle among several people.
  • Planting trees.
  • Turning off unnecessary lamps.
  • Thanking God before and after meals.

At the end of this Encyclical Letter, Pope Francis proposes that we offer “two prayers. The first we can share with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator, while in the other we Christians ask for inspiration to take up the commitment to creation set before us by the Gospel of Jesus”.

Click here to download A Prayer for Our Earth (JPG file) and A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation (JPG file).

SOME thoughts on environmental care shared by pope francis in his LAUDATO SI´ encyclical

  1. Saint Francis “was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. (…) He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace”. (10)
  2. “All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14)
  3. “Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. This debt can be paid partly by an increase in funding to provide clean water and sanitary services among the poor.” (30)
  4. “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (49)
  5. “We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference.” (52)
  6. “Young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. At the same time, they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence which makes it difficult to develop other habits. We are faced with an educational challenge.” (209)
  7. “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.” (211)
  8. “In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures.” (213)
  9. “This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them. In this sense, we can speak of a ‘universal fraternity’.” (228)
  10. “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty.” (229)

Source: Opus Dei

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