The Season of Creation (1 September, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to 4 October, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) is an ecumenical season where the world’s 2.2 billion Christians are called to pray, to reflect and to take action for our common home.
The theme for this year’s season is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’, takes inspiration from the Prophet Amos who declared: “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24).
According to Jane Mellet, Laudato Si officer with Trócaire, “we are all called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity. In Pope Francis’ message for this year’s Season of Creation, he asks, ‘what can we, particularly as Christian communities, do to heal our common home so that it can once again teem with life? We must do this by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.’
“In particular, Pope Francis calls on world leaders at the upcoming COP28 climate talks in Dubai, which will be held from 30 November to 12 December, to listen to science and institute a rapid and just transition to end the era of fossil fuels. The Holy Father says, ‘it is absurd to permit the continued exploration and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructures. Let us raise our voices to halt this injustice towards the poor and towards our children, who will bear the worst effects of climate change.’ And so, during this special season of creation in the Church, I encourage all to support the the online campaign, organised by the Laudato Si’ Movement, to #PrayForCop28, so that world leaders will make the urgent changes needed to safeguard our common home.
“While we pray, Pope Francis also encourages us never to underestimate the power of small actions in our daily lives at home, school and in our parishes, to try to live more sustainably from recycling to tree planting. Each of us can resolve to do one small thing. I suggest the following five tips to help us act and care for our environment:
- Pray for the success of the upcoming UN talks on climate change, COP28
- Talk to your local politicians, let them know that you are concerned about the impacts of these crises.
- Make one small lifestyle change – eg say goodbye to single use plastics; plant some trees; consider ‘going wild’ for biodiversity.
- Watch the movie The Letter on YouTube – and invite a few people to join you!
- Think about becoming an Eco Parish through ecocongregationireland.com
Ms Mellet concluded, “the Bishops of Ireland are leading the way as they have asked each parish community to return 30% of grounds to nature – this will be a first step for many of us, to look at the spaces we have around our parish, and around our homes, to see how we might make more room for biodiversity. There are user-friendly resources now available on catholicbishops.ie to assist with this very worthwhile initiative.”