Pope Francis announced that next Tuesday, Sept. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.
At the conclusion of today’s General Audience, the Pontiff shared this, stating, “In communion of prayer with our Orthodox brothers and with all good persons of good will, we wish to make our contribution to the surmounting of the ecological crisis that humanity is experiencing.”
“Throughout the world,” Francis continued, “the various ecclesial realities have planned opportune initiatives of prayer and reflection, to render this Day an intense moment, also in view of the assumption of coherent styles of life”
The Holy Father said that on Tuesday at 5 p.m. there will be a Liturgy of the Word with bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful of the Roman Curia in St. Peter’s Basilica and he invited Romans, pilgrims, and all those who would like to, to participate.
On August 10, Pope Francis instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which will be celebrated each year on September 1st, making the announcement in a letter he sent to Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. In the letter, the Pope reaffirmed how part of our responsibility as Christians involves resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, he stressed, we must first rediscover in our own “rich spiritual patrimony” the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation and how Jesus lived in the world.
Recalling his encyclical on the environment ‘Laudato Si’, Francis stressed that the ecological crisis summons us to a “profound spiritual conversion”: “Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (217)
“The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 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,” he said.
The celebration of this day on the same date as the Orthodox Church, the Holy Father stated, will provide a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Announcement of Pope Instituting World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-institutes-world-day-of-prayer-for-care-of-creation