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Annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

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Pope Francis has declared the First of September to be the Annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. He said in his announcement which highlighted parts of the encyclical Laudato Si’, “As Christians we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us. The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. For 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.” The Annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation provides an opportunity for people of faith to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, 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. 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. The Pope added, “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. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.” With Pope Francis, the leaders of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) have asserted how clearly they hear both the "cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" (Laudato Si', 49). Representing the leaders of all the Catholic men's religious orders in the U.S., which have a long history of walking with those in most need, CMSM deeply feels the suffering of our "common home" and all the creatures, each of whom "have a value of their own in God's eyes" (Laudato Si', 69, 221). With great enthusiasm and commitment, CMSM overwhelmingly passed a resolution, "Cherish All of Creation," at its national assembly on Friday, August 7, in Charlotte, NC. With this act, CMSM commits to a deeper engagement on this issue and transforming practices in communities where they and their members live and minister. "The biblical vision with Christ in the center of our lives and communities, along with our vows and our mission as religious, calls us to see the urgency of this issue, not simply as a justice and peace concern but as embedded in who we are," the document asserts. This legislation impels the more than 17,000 priests, brothers, and seminarians whom the CMSM delegates represent to: •pray regularly the St. Francis Pledge "To Protect and Heal God's Creation." •change our lifestyle and personal habits, such as consuming less, creating community gardens, and eating less or no meat as we cultivate the virtues of an "ecological citizenship." •create dialogues, preach and teach to address these issues. •include the most affected community in our own deliberations toward improving our care for creation. •increase significantly our reliance on green energy in our ministries and buildings, as we also significantly decrease and ultimately "replace without delay" (Laudato Si', 165) our reliance on fossil fuels in each; and to support these same commitments in any investment portfolios. •advocate for significant policy changes at all levels of government to address this issue, including a more equitable economic system. The Conference assembly also recognized that increasing wars over natural resources and war itself are serious threats to a healthy climate. Here, members identified the need for the nation to spend less on preparing for war and more to prevent and defuse ongoing war."CMSM remains excited to move as one body with the Body of Christ and with the Spirit who moves and sustains us in this most urgent endeavor to cherish all of creation. We invite people of good will to join us in this liberating and holy practice," Fr. Jim Greenfield, OSFS, President of CMSM said. Along with the Pope, and the CMSM, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement invoke upon this initiative the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, and of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation, on this special day set aside for prayer for all creation, and for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

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1 Shawn Bose = "The ecological crisis”, the Pope wrote in his encyclical, “summons us to a profound spiritual conversion…….The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, 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.....We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to credible and effective”.(from Vatican Radio)"