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Church joins non-Catholics in month to remember the world is God’s gift

LAUDATO SI

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Isabella H. de Carvalho - published on 08/31/23

A month-long ecumenical celebration, the Season of Creation, starts on September 1. Pope: We need to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.

From September 1 to October 4, 2023, Christian Churches and communities will celebrate the Season of Creation, a period of prayer and reflection as stewards of God’s creation.

Started in 1989 by the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch, Dimitrios I, this event has also been celebrated in the Catholic Church since 2015, at the request of Pope Francis.

Several events are planned for the ninth edition this year, at the end of which Pope Francis will publish an apostolic exhortation in continuation of his 2015 encyclical on the care for creation, Laudato Si’.

“Let us join our Christian brothers and sisters in the commitment to care for Creation as a sacred gift from the Creator,” he said during the general audience on August 30,2023. “It is necessary to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, striving to end the senseless war on our common home, which is a terrible world war. I urge all of you to work and pray for it to abound with life once again.”

The Season of Creation will kick off with the September 1 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, with an ecumenical prayer service online that will be streamed in multiple languages. Pope Francis will be on an apostolic trip to Mongolia at the time; this country suffers from high air pollution and is one that struggles with the effects of climate change. 

Several events are planned across the world throughout the month, such as an ecumenical prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square on September 30, clean-ups of natural areas, conferences on the topic, prayers for politicians who legislate on the environment, and more.

The Season of Creation will end on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology. Pope Francis revealed recently that he will take this opportunity to publish “a second Laudato si’” in the form of an apostolic exhortation. 

“Let Justice and Peace Flow”

This year’s Season of Creation has the theme “Let Justice and Peace Flow,” inspired by the prophet Amos: “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (5:24). Pope Francis explained this in his message for the occasion, published in May 2023. 

“During this Season of Creation, let us dwell on those heartbeats: our own and those of our mothers and grandmothers, the heartbeat of creation and the heartbeat of God. Today they do not beat in harmony; they are not harmonized in justice and peace,” the Pope said in the text. 

“How can we contribute to the mighty river of justice and peace in this Season of Creation? What can we, particularly as Christian communities, do to heal our common home so that it can once again teem with life?” the Pope asked. “We must do this by resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.” 

He called for an “ecological conversion” so that we can see the world as a gift from the creator and repent for our “ecological sins.”

“In this Season of Creation, as followers of Christ on our shared synodal journey, let us live, work and pray that our common home will teem with life once again. May the Holy Spirit once more hover over the waters and guide our efforts to ‘renew the face of the earth’ (cf. Ps 104:30).”

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EnvironmentPope Francis
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