Sept. 1 has a double significance for Catholics around the world:
- It’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation; and
- It’s the first day of a month-long observance of Season of Creation.
Bishops eye ‘ecological conversion’
“Pope Francis invites us to ‘transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies (to) contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace in this Season of Creation,” two bishops said in a reflection released Aug. 29.
The joint message was issued by Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace.
“Let Justice and Peace Flow” is the theme of the day of prayer and the Season of Creation that follows.
The season is a monthlong ecumenical period for prayer and action to promote ecological principles. It ends Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis Assisi.
The bishops aid that the Holy Spirit can guide people to transform “hearts, lifestyles, and public policies” that will bring about “ecological conversion.” They called for “greater discernment and action to address both ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.’”
Pope: End war against creation
People must end the “senseless war against creation” and help victims of environmental and climate injustice, Pope Francis said in calling attention to both today’s observance and the month-long ecumenical Season of Creation.
In urging a transformation of hearts, lifestyles and public policies, he said several injustices need immediate responses – including “economic policies that promote scandalous wealth for a privileged few and degrading conditions for many others.”
In his message for the day, released back on May 25, he also criticized continued exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructures, and “predatory industries” depleting and polluting freshwater sources.
“Consumerist greed, fueled by selfish hearts, is disrupting the planet’s water cycle,” he wrote. “The unrestrained burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests are pushing temperatures higher and leading to massive droughts.”
He added: “Predatory industries are depleting and polluting our freshwater sources through extreme practices such as fracking for oil and gas extraction, unchecked mega-mining projects and intensive animal farming.”
He expressed the hope that by transforming hearts, lifestyles and public policies, Christians can “contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace in this season of creation.”