The following statement was released August 29, 2019, by Bishop John Arnold, lead Catholic Bishop for the Environment in England and Wales.
Sunday 1 September marks the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.” This day of prayer was instituted in the Catholic Church in 2015 by Pope Francis, although it has been celebrated in the Orthodox church since 1989.
It also marks the start of the “Season of Creation,” which unites Christians in prayer and action for the protection of our common home. The Season of Creation ends on 4 October, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi. During this season we are encouraged to deepen our relationship with God, our neighbor, and the earth we share, being ever more attentive to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
Especially at this time, with attention on the fires in the Amazon Rainforest, we pray for those in positions of power and influence to be effective ‘guardians of God’s creation,’ which includes all of us who exercise influence as consumers. We also pray for those who are involved in the preparations for the Synod on the Amazon, that their discussions will be fruitful in highlighting the challenges faced in the region and bringing more people to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We all have our part to play in caring for our common home, and in our recent statement, “Guardians of God’s Creation” we encourage a Christian spirituality of ecology, and a call to a new lifestyle, beginning in personal and family life. As disciples, we are invited to be part of the redeeming mission of Christ and to approach our task with joy and gratitude. “Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise [Laudato Si’, 12].”
We invite you to pray with us, especially on 1 September, but throughout the Season of Creation.