Season of Creation begins on 1 September

31st August 2017 - by Katie Fitzpatrick

Columban workers in the US and Korea with Tomas Insua of the GCCM
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Thousands of events to celebrate the Day of Prayer for Care of Creation on 1 September and the beginning of the Season of Creation have been recorded by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

They include an indigenous-led interfaith walk at the Great Lakes in Canada, an interfaith service and river clean up at the source of the Mbabne river in Swaziland, and a Kids Art Contest focused on Creation at an Orthodox academy in Crete. In Buenos Aires, students at the Daughters of Jesus School will pray together for creation. And what about the prayer at a solar farm in Eastern Kentucky in the United States, and a blessing of animals at St John Neumann parish in Virginia.

Columbans have pledged to disinvest from fossil fuels. We are also walking for Creation and joining a special Creation Mass with Cardinal Tagle in the Philippines on 1 September, plus planting trees and leading Creation prayers in the countries where we work. In Washington our Advocacy office is highlighting the lessons from Hurricane Harvey, including the need for action on climate change.

The Movement is holding a global online prayer service on 1 September, which anyone can join. Bill McKibben, Archbishop Seraphim Kykotiw of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, Bishop Mark McDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishops, and Yeb Saño, will lead it. On 19 September Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will be leading an online Taizé service.

And what about Britain?

The August 2017 Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility Bulletin of Portsmouth Diocese has urged celebration of the Season of Creation. It is advertising materials available from the Season of Creation website, the Columbans and CAFOD. Woodley Parish near Reading is using Cafod’s service on Friday 1 September, in the evening with adoration, and is celebrating a Creation Mass with a ‘Harvest of Pledges’ on 16/17 September. Abingdon parish has an annual covenant with the poor commitment in a few weeks where they hope to receive their livesimply award.

On 20 September the Lancaster Diocese Environment Group are putting on a reflection celebrating creation for Blackpool and Fylde deaneries, with three inputs about the richness of and threats to coastal dunes, countryside, and urban. Music, litanies, quiet time, Laudato Si’ quotes will be incorporated, all followed by refreshments and poster exhibition. There will be an ecumenical witness of prayer for creation on 4 October at a Lancashire fracking site. Fr Paul Emery from St Mary’s, Ulverston in Cumbria, has installed an electric vehicle charging point in the church car park – the first in the diocese, and possibly the first for parishioners attending church in Britain. This will be commissioned and formally switched-on on Friday 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

In Macclesfield, Shrewsbury Diocese, the J & P Group plans to celebrate the Season of Creation both within the Catholic parishes and with other churches in the town. There will be a prayer evening on 1 September at St Michael’s Church, and a nature walk, picnic and reflective service at St Peter’s Church, Prestbury, on 10 September. The film Winds of Change, exploring the impact of climate change, will be shown on 20 September at St Alban’s Parish Centre. On 24 September, a reflective ramble is planned. The group has also produced, for the second time, a calendar for the season. For each day there is a recommended reflection or action on the environment with a focus on plastic waste. More details of events and the calendar are on the St Alban’s website: under News – Season of Creation events.

The Liverpool Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission and CAFOD Liverpool has produced a new downloadable resource, which will be used throughout the diocese. It includes praying with the Gospels, stories from our time and quotes from Laudato Si’. There are five independent sections, each based on the Pastoral Cycle, which can be taken as a course or as a series of one-off group sessions of one and a half hours to follow each of the five Sundays during the season of creation. Pope Francis has asked that this Creation Time period be marked with prayer, reflection and action in relation to the Earth and our place upon it. The Resource is an excellent way to help parishes to do this. Also, it provides good material for personal reflection if a local parish is not offering anything. Download the resource at:

This material will also be used during Creation Time by a prayer group at Christ the King parish in Coventry, where there will be a notice board display showing the themes of Creation time.

Posters which the Columbans produced for a Creation focus are up in those parishes in Arundel and Brighton with justice and peace groups, after Creation Time was advertised at the National Justice and Peace Network conference in July. Nottingham Diocese’s parish of SS Peter and Paul in Lincoln is including special prayers at Friday’s mass and at coffee mornings over the month.

In Scotland, the faith community of St Ninian’s in Edinburgh will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation at its First Friday Devotion on 1 September. Then there will be a focus on a ‘creation theme’ at Sunday Masses during Creation Time. Sessions are being offered for people to reflect, share and pray on aspects of what Pope Francis calls ‘ecological conversion’. There will be a Prayer Service on the eve of the Feast of St Francis and the people will join those around the world looking at practical ways that, as individuals and as a parish, they can increase care for our common home.

Ellen Teague