Pope Francis has instituted a new day of prayer and celebration for the Church entitled the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation,” to be celebrated on September 1 each year.
The day of prayer is in keeping with the theme of the Holy Father’s newest environmental encyclical “Laudato Si.” It is also seen as a sign of unity with the Orthodox Church, which established September 1 as a day to celebrate creation in 1989.
“The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said.
He expressed hope that the day could highlight the need for all Christians to work together toward common goals.
The day will be an opportunity to reaffirm in Christians their vocation as stewards of God’s creation, to recognize their gratitude for God’s earthly gifts, and to pray for the protection of the environment and pardon from sins against it, the pontiff said.
Pope Francis reiterated in his institution of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation that the care of the environment needs to be a priority for Christians because of their care for the human person.
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience,” he said, referring to Laudato Si 216.
The Pope expressed his hope that the new day will serve as a call to the faithful to an “ecological conversion” whereby their encounter with the Risen Lord is evident in their care for the world around them.
The World Day of Prayer for the Care for Creation is meant to be celebrated “with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful,” Pope Francis said, and should “become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles.”
Courtesy: CNA, Picture: AP