Source: Ellen Teague Independent Catholic News
It is July and I am watching birds pecking at the first signs of tiny fruit on a damson tree in my garden. I don’t mind – there is enough for sharing, and plenty of tasty ripe damsons will be harvested for us and our neighbours in the Autumn. It is wonderful that harvest services in our churches around October have long celebrated the fruitfulness of Earth, our common home, and the generosity of God, the Creator.
In Britain, planning has started for marking the Season of Creation in our parishes and schools. The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration of prayer and action, which starts 1 September, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology. Within it is CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day on 1 October.
United around this year’s theme ‘A home for all?’, Christians are planning to participate in initiatives of prayer, sustainability, and advocacy to care for our common home. Churches are invited to hold a climate-focused service on any Sunday before COP26 this November, but most will be in September. The collective impact of local church commitments and action will be presented to the UK Government at the Climate Sunday Service in Glasgow on Sunday, 5 September 2021 to demonstrate that the Churches are calling on our government to lead the way in delivering a cleaner, greener and fairer future.
This Season of Creation will also be a critical moment for Catholics to prepare to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf ahead of two important summits, the UN Summit on Biodiversity in China (COP 15) in October and the UN Climate Summit in November (COP 26). The National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN), CAFOD, Columbans and others have prepared for the Season of Creation with sample services and resources for the whole month of September and early October. The NJPN annual Conference 23-25 July, ‘2021: Moment of Truth – Action for Life on Earth’, is a great opportunity for hearing about exciting creation-centred initiatives this year.
Ninety-five parishes and schools have now achieved CAFOD’s livesimply award, where they have worked towards projects to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor. Yet, the focus on Creation in the Autumn attempts to bring many more Catholics on board for caring for our common home. The Season of Creation offers the opportunity for a common witness of the Churches. And the time to do it is now, as the planet continues to warm, causing terrible suffering for the poorest communities on Earth, and many other species are being pushed to extinction.
2021 is also the year when the Vatican Dicastery of Human Development is inviting us to embark on a journey through the ‘Laudato Si’ Action Platform’, to be launched on 4 October 2021. All parts of the Church are expected to embark on this journey to sustainability, in the spirit of ‘Laudato Si’, towards integral ecology. It is hoped that each area pf the Church’s mission will make public commitments to the seven ‘Laudato Si’ goals:
– Response to the Cry of the Earth
– Response to the Cry of the Poor
– Ecological economics
– Adoption of Simple Lifestyle
– Ecological Education
– Ecological Spirituality
– Community Involvement and Participatory Action
Its time to start preparing for September and the Season of Creation.
Short video review of the Season of Creation 2020 – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMdGYmetPW8
Vatican Letter promoting the Season of Creation – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1inZAPqO76fiA9XirHaCc-QCUOUlwXz7P/view
Climate Sunday – www.climatesunday.org
Laudato Si’ Action Platform: https://laudatosiactionplatform.org/
Summer 2021 Columban Vocation for Justice Newsletter, ‘Prepare the Future’ – https://columbans.co.uk/how-you-can-help/subscribe/vocation-for-justice/
A Columban resource, explores the Sunday scripture readings during the Season: www.columban.org.au/catholic-mission-files/pdf/educational-resources/catholic-season-of-creation/2021-year-b/year-b-introduction-2021-web.pdf
Columban Laudato Si’ Study and Action Guide for Individuals and Groups – https://columbans.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/July2016Laudato-Si-Study-and-Action-Guide-by-JPIC-Britain.pdf
Journey to 2030 – Season of Creation Resources – https://journeyto2030.org/praying-with-the-gospels-stories-from-around-the-world-and-excerpts-from-laudato-si/
Countdown to COP26: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/42594