Pope Francis has declared September 1st to be a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, together with the Orthodox Church. In his Letter for the establishment of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” the pope asks that “suitable ways of publicizing and celebrating the Day” be arranged “so that this annual event will become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles.”
He also expresses the hope that such a day “will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
Fr Peter Bisson, Provincial of the Jesuits in English Canada, has expressed his hope that, together with our Orthodox sisters and brothers, prayer on this day “will help us to appropriate Laudato Si’.” This is a reference to Pope Francis’s most recent encyclical on care for the Earth, “our common home.” Fr Peter has suggested our use of the following prayer, which is also being used by Development and Peace:
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
O Holy Spirit, you hovered over the deep at the dawn of creation.
You fashioned time and space itself in the initial magnificent flaring forth.
You breathed life into all beings and you continue to dwell
and work in all creation to sustain that life.
Be with us now at this critical moment of our history.
Open our ears to the cry of the earth,
suffering the effects of human exploitation and unbridled consumption.
Open our ears to the cries of our brothers and sisters
living in the midst of extreme poverty and hunger.
Give us a deeper awareness that we are part of all that you have made,
that we are intimately connected to all that has been,
all that is and all that will be.
Grant us a spirit of awe and wonder as we contemplate
the marvels of your creation, recognizing and giving thanks
for your presence within and around us.
Give us a deep respect for all life and help us to renew
our commitment to foster life wherever we are.
Give us the courage to denounce all that disfigures your creation
and to commit fully to caring for our earthly home
and for all the created beings we share it with.
May we live lives characterized by compassion
and service and may we embody your love
in our relationships with one another
and with all Creation.
(Prayer composed by Sr Gemma Corbett/CAFOD)