“I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on September 1st,” Pope Francis said in a letter released by the Vatican.
The Pope said he had been inspired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, who have been praying for the environment on that date since the late 1980s. September 1 is when Orthodox Christians mark their day for the protection of the environment, giving the Pope’s gesture added symbolism in relations between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity.
“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.
“We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective.”
The Pope said the day, to be marked with events in every Catholic diocese around the world, would offer Catholics “a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation.”
Pope Francis said it would also be a chance 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.”
NC Interfaith Power & Light supports faith communities with interfaith creation care programs and prayer resources which are available on our website.