By María de los Ángeles Casafus Carrillo
Spiritual Consultant, Laudato Si’ Movement
“Praise be to you my Lord, with all your creatures,” prayed St. Francis of Assisi. With this simple but profound prayer, he has encouraged believers of many generations to recognize creation as the fruit of God’s eternal Love.
Season of Creation is a time of grace that the Church, in ecumenical dialogue, offers to humanity to renew its relationship with the Creator and with creation, through celebration, conversion and commitment together.
In other words, the Season of Creation is the annual ecumenical celebration of prayer and action for our common home.
When will we gather?
The Season of Creation begins on September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.
Individuals and communities are invited to participate through prayer, sustainability projects and advocacy.
- Prayer: Host an ecumenical prayer gathering that unites all Christians for the care of our common home.
- Sustainability: Lead a cleanup project that helps all of creation thrive.
- Advocacy: Raise your voice for climate justice by participating in or leading an ongoing campaign, such as the fossil fuel divestment movement.
We invite you to plan your own participation for the season. As a first step, visit seasonofcreation.org. There you will find the official guide for the celebration of the Season of Creation, a wide range of resources and a form to register your events.
Why is it important?
Taking action during the Season of Creation is living out our Catholic faith.
The Church, following the teachings of Jesus, from the Social Doctrine, throughout time has exhorted believers to work for the common good, which requires dignifying life in all its forms, caring for the common home, committing to the construction of more just, supportive, fraternal and peaceful societies, among other fundamental aspects to achieve what Pope Francis calls integral ecology in Laudato Si.
Often, when we speak of creation, it is related to nature, animals, landscapes, the sun, the moon, but rarely do we become aware that the human being is the culmination of the Father’s creative work, “God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen 1:31), the Sacred Scripture states, implying that God, after the creation of man and woman, is pleased to see all their work.
In this regard, it is important to mention that, in the Bible, there are several references to the creative work of the Father, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them (Rom 4:24) and, moreover, lovingly arranges everything to sustain and promote harmony: “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26).
In other words, he is not only a creator God, but a loving Father who tenderly cares for the work of his hands and has a vision of fraternity for all humanity.
Accordingly, the Season of Creation is a celebration that allows all people to recognize ourselves as “the work of the Lord’s creative act,” to contemplate nature and all that dwells in it, and to care for our Common Home.
It is necessary for all believers to join in the celebration of the Season of Creation. Since “what was good in the eyes of God has become an exploitable thing in the hands of man”, and it is urgent that as Church we implement concrete actions towards care and preservation.
As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, “‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation’. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (LS 14).
Season of Creation History
In 1989 Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitros I proclaimed September 1 as the Orthodox Day of Prayer for Creation.
Subsequently, the World Council of Churches (WCC) extended the celebration until October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. In turn, in 2015 Pope Francis made the Season of Creation official for the Roman Catholic Church.
In this regard, Pope Francis expressed in 2015:
“The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. 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.”
The Pope and the Vatican
In recent years, the Pope and the Vatican have shown more prophetic leadership in strongly encouraging all Catholics to participate in this ecumenical season.
Msgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has written letters inviting all Catholics to “join the ecumenical family in celebrating the Season of Creation.”
Bishop Duffé has repeated Pope Francis’ call for all Catholics to join the Season and has also encouraged “bishops and ecclesial organisms to make statements to raise awareness of this celebration, helping the faithful to discover that ‘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.’ (LS 217)
A new theme each year
Each year, the Ecumenical Steering Committee suggests a theme and provides resources to guide the celebration of the Season of Creation; in 2019 the theme was “Web of Life”, Pope Francis addressed a message to mark the celebration where he expressed: “We were thought and brought to the center of a web of life composed of millions of species lovingly united by our Creator”.
During the celebration, it was possible to reflect on how each one of us can and should be involved in continuing to weave the Web of Life to which we all belong.
The theme for 2020 was “Jubilee For The Earth”, the Pope also shared a message in which he reminded us that “in the Holy Scriptures, a Jubilee is a sacred time to remember, return, rest, restore, and rejoice”. It was a year marked by a new reality, in which all human beings are reminded that we are vulnerable and that we need others to survive. The COVID 19 pandemic, even with all the pain it caused, was and continues to be an opportunity for all of us to turn our eyes to God.
Joyfully, we were able to see that during the Season of Creation 2020, thousands of people and communities participated in life-giving events, illuminating the path of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers, who are looking for hope in the midst of a pandemic and the worsening climate crisis, among other crises affecting our world.
For this year, the chosen theme is: “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God”. Oikos is the Greek word for “home” or ” household”; likewise, the proposed symbol is Abraham’s Tent, which represents our commitment to safeguarding a place for all who share our common home:
Who can participate in the celebration of the Season of Creation?
Everyone: believers and non-believers. Because we are all called to live in harmony, being responsible stewards of our common home, which implies that we all must commit ourselves to care for life in all its forms, remembering that caring does not only refer to protecting, but necessarily implies loving, contemplating and feeling part of God’s creative work.
The Season of Creation is a propitious time for us to reflect on the importance of ecological conversion, to work towards the achievement of an Integral Ecology and, above all, to recognize that the entire creation speaks of the beauty of its author.
We invite you to take part in this celebration on a personal, family, and community level. Share posts on social media with the #SeasonofCreation. And don’t forget to entrust this time to the Lord with the Prayer for the Season of Creation 2021.