By Jim Fair

Following his August 30 Angelus address delivered to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis noted the upcoming World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and offered prayers for Mauritius, site of a recent oil spill.

“The day after tomorrow, 1st September, is World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. From this date, until 4 October, we will celebrate with our Christian brothers and sisters from various Churches and traditions the “Jubilee of the Earth”, to commemorate the establishment, 50 years ago, of Earth Day,” Pope Francis said. “I send my greeting to the various initiatives promoted in every part of the world and, among them, the Concert held today in the Cathedral of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius, where unfortunately an environmental catastrophe has occurred recently.”

Msgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, published in May a letter inviting Catholics around the world to participate in the Season of Creation. The letter warmly invites the Church to “join the ecumenical family in celebrating the Season of Creation, the annual celebration that takes place from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.”

The Season of Creation is an annual event that encourages prayer and action for our common home. In recent years, thousands of Catholics on six continents have organized local activities to celebrate the Season of Creation. In 2019, Pope Francis issued the first-ever papal statement on the season.

The celebration of the Season of Creation is especially relevant this year, in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. The Dicastery for Integral Human Development is currently engaged in work to develop a comprehensive response to the pandemic, addressing both the immediate needs of those who suffer today and the long-term need to create more just societies. As Pope Francis said during his General Audience of 22 April 2020, on the fiftieth Earth Day: “As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst”.

The Season of Creation is coordinated by an ecumenical steering committee. More information can be found at SeasonofCreation.org.

A 60-second video featuring excerpts from Pope Francis’ statement:

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