On Sunday last, in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Archbishop Martin celebrated Mass with the Charles Wood Festival Chorus to mark the beginning of the Season of Creation 2022. The Season of Creation has a special significance in the Catholic Church, particularly since Pope Francis established 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The Season is marked throughout the Christian world from 1 September to 4 October (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) to celebrate the joy of creation and encourage awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.
During his homily, Archbishop Martin reflected on the message of Pope Francis for the forthcoming Season of Creation.
The Primate of All Ireland said, “Last October Pope Francis and other religious and faith leaders met with many scientists and experts, concluding that we are currently ‘at a moment of opportunity and truth. Future generations will never forgive us if we squander this precious opportunity’, the climate experts said. ‘We have inherited a beautiful garden; we must not leave a desert to our children’.
Archbishop Martin continued, “From a faith point of view, God is calling us today, more than ever, to be caring stewards of creation, to protect and nourish our planet and its resources, and not to selfishly waste them or ruthlessly and excessively exploit and destroy them. The challenge to be humble before the wonder of God’s creation, to accept that we need a more balanced, and less wasteful lifestyle; we need “to live more simply, so that others might simply live”.”
Addressing the responsibility of governments to tackle climate change, Archbishop Martin said, “Global efforts will continue in the coming months to tackle the urgent issues of climate change. At COP27 in Egypt in November, and at COP15 in Canada in December, world leaders will build on previous discussions at international government level. But we cannot simply leave it to governments to solve these immense problems. Humility calls on each one of us to share both the burden and the search for solutions. In our personal lives at home, and in our schools, parishes and communities, the challenge rests with each and all of us.
“Pope Francis speaks of “ecological conversion” and this begins by asking ourselves: how might I change my lifestyle? How can I use more respectfully the good things of this earth that God has given us? Can I make some personal sacrifices in answer to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor that is knocking out of tune the harmony of the great cosmic choir? Can I accept that less is sometimes more?”
In conclusion, the Primate offered the following prayer, “Let us humbly pray as we begin the season of creation:
“Creator of All,
Your Word went forth to create a symphony of life that sings your praise.
In this Season of Creation, we pray that you would call to us, as from the burning bush, with the sustaining fire of your Spirit.
Breathe upon us.
Open our ears and move our hearts.
Turn us from our inward gaze. Teach us to contemplate your creation, and listen for the voice of each creature declaring your glory.
Enlighten us with the grace to follow the Way of Christ as we learn to walk lightly upon this holy ground.
Fill us with the hope to quench the fires of injustice with the light of your healing love that sustains our common home.
In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”