The World Day of Prayer for the Care of All Creation was celebrated across Ireland for the past two years at the invitation of the Holy Father Pope Francis. The importance of caring for all creation was highlighted by Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), published in June 2015. In his encyclical, Pope Francis appealed to every person living on our planet to take care of our common home. He also called on us to think of those who are most acutely feeling the consequences of environmental degradation and destruction. He said, “These are some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the developing world. The injustice is all the greater since those affected have contributed least to the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources.”
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace proposed that the World Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for repentance for the ways in which our lifestyles may be contributing to the suffering of others. They said that we need to have the courage to hear the cry of the poor and see how this is connected to the cry of the earth.
Pope Francis reminds us that, “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” He points to our throwaway culture and asks that, “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”
Pope Francis has this week appealed for “a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation”. At his weekly General Audience, the Pope said that he has prepared a joint World Day of Prayer for Creation message with “our dear brother Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople”. The message will be released on 1 September.
“In the message,” the Holy Father said, “we invite all to assume a respectful and responsible attitude towards Creation.” He said the two Church leaders “also appeal, to all who occupy influential roles, to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer most from ecological imbalances.”
A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.