ARE you—faithful and Mass-going Catholic—aware that, in addition to our regular liturgical seasons, we will start the Season of Creation next Tuesday?
Last August 10, right after the publication of his encyclical Laudato Si—about our Christian duty to help nurture and preserve our home, the planet Earth–Pope Francis announced that the Church would henceforth be celebrating the “World Day of Prayer For the Care of All Creation” every September 1.
He \told us Catholics that our brethren in the Orthodox Church have been celebrating this “for some time now.”
While making his announcement, the Holy Father reminded us that as Christians we ought to be offering “our contributions toward solving the ecological crisis humanity is living through. This, he said, should call us to a profound spiritual conversion, to an “ecological conversion” that makes us realize “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.” It is essential to being Christian.
Pope Francis said “it offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvelous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
Archbishop Cardinal Tagle leads local celebration
The Arzobizpado de Manila has announced that the Season of Creation Begins on Sept. 1, next Tuesday, in the archdiocese.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle has issued a circular calling on all to participate fully in the celebration of the Season, which he said, is the period when “we thank God for the many ways He has gifted our land and resolve to cherish and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future generations of Filipinos” (CBCP Pastoral Letter, “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land” 1988).
In the circular, Cardinal Tagle said that this year’s Season of Creation is “guided by the new encyclical of the Holy Father Pope Francis, Laudato Si, and his declaration of the World Day for the Care of Creation.”
Actually, though, the Archdiocese of Manila began celebrating the Season of Creation in 2013. Cardinal Tagle said this was ten years after the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines through its president then, Cotabato Archbishop (now Cardinal) Orlando Quevedo, called for the introduction of the Season to the Filipino Catholic faithful as an acknowledgment of Creation as “that priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into his own image and likeness.”
The archdiocese has announced a program of activities for parishes and schools during the entire Season. For the Season’s start, there will be ecology exhibits, a Children’s Forum on Laudato Si and an Ecology Quiz Bee in schools, and Story Telling on the Care of Creation.
Cardinal Tagle will preside at the Season’s opening Mass at 2 p.m. on Sept. 1 at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral). Before Mass, there will be a Holy Hour.
Cardinal Tagle also asked that this year’s Season of Creation give “emphasis on deepening the commitment to care for our common home and to support the Global Catholic Climate Movement that aims to gather 10 million signatures to call on world leaders to sign the commitment to limit the increase of the global temperature to below 1.5 degrees centigrade.”
Meanwhile, Catholics in the Philippines are helping collect signatures for a petition to be presented to the world leaders who will gather in Paris in November to discuss climate change.
The petition asks leaders work in earnest to keep the global temperature from rising above the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also calls for more and broader assistance for the poor who face the effects of climate change.
The signature campaign was launched in the Philippines in July and promoted by the “Global Climate Catholic Movement.” This brings together more than 100 Catholic organizations engaged in the work of realizing “climate justice.”
If you haven’t done so yet, sign the petition. Ask the people in your church’s parish office about it.
Pope Francis will lead the celebration of the first World Day of Prayer for All Creation in St. Peter’s Square on Tuesday at 5 p.m., Rome time. The Holy Father said at the Aug. 26 Wednesday general audience that on Sept. 1 he will lead a celebration with the Liturgy of the Word with bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful of the Roman Curia in St. Peter’s Basilica. He invited Romans, pilgrims, and everyone to participate.