GCCM Webinars Kick Off with Season of Creation

August 28, 2015

The Global Catholic Climate Movement kicked off their series of webinars on turning Laudato Si into action.  The series started with a webinar on the upcoming Season of Creation and featured

  • Fr. Charles Rue, Australian Coordinator, Columban Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation
  • Ms. Lou Arsenio, Coordinator of the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Ecology
  • Fr. John Leydon, Columbans, representing Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines

Fr. John spoke about his experience implementing a Season of Creation over the past 10 years, with his pastoral team, and Ms. Arsenio described plans for the 2015 Season of Creation, across the Diocese of Manila.  Ms. Arsenio is also conducting outreach to other dioceses across the Philippines.  An overview of their discussion is provided here.  An overview of Fr. Rue’s presentation and discussion of the materials developed for a Catholic Season of Creation are available here.

The Season of Creation starts on September 1 – World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

Pope Francis recently proclaimed that date as a day of prayer for creation, as the Orthodox Church has done since 1989, to “draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation”.  Learn more here.  Our Lutheran brethren have also been celebrating a season of creation.

Other Christian churches have been celebrating the Season of Creation (also called Creation Time) for several years already. For instance, in 2004 the Lutherans started celebrating the Season of Creation and in 2007 the World Council of Churches invited to observe Time for Creation.  The Philippine bishops proposed in 2003 to celebrate creation in this Sep 1 to Oct 4 time-frame, with a pastoral statement that said “We wish to introduce this period to our Catholic faithful and acknowledge “Creation”, that priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into his own image and likeness.” The Archdiocese of Manila institutionalized the Season of Creation in 2013 by integrating creation spirituality in the liturgies, raising awareness about the ecological crisis and encouraging action to protect God’s creation (learn more herehere and here).  In 2015, Cardinal Tagle issued a letter about the Season of Creation and the Catholic Climate Petition.

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The Season of Creation ends on October 4 the Feast of St Francis, though in some countries it extends through celebration of indigenous people the following week.  More resources on the latter will follow.  The feast of St Francis of Assisi is a major day of celebration, to reflect on the life of the Patron of Ecology and author of the Canticle of the Creatures.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement in partnership with the Columban Fathers developed homily guides.  GCCM will also provide weekly resources adapted from what Archdiocese of Manila is doing, along with their plan for parish implementation, as well as a 2-page resource adapted from the Columban Mission Institute in Australia.

PROPOSED ACTIVITIES

PRAY

– As a community: Highlight God as Creator in the Sunday liturgies by incorporating themes of Creation within the prayers and homilies (see this resource from the Columban Mission Institute in Australia and the plan and homily guides from the Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines). Host an ecumenical prayer service given the Pope’s invitation to use the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to promote Christian unity.
– As an individual: Commit to praying on a regular basis for creation and for an ecological conversion for yourself, our leaders, and all people by joining the “Pray for COP21” prayer chain (to be launched on September 1) or using any of these prayer resources.

REFLECT

– As a community: Host a study group about the Laudato Si’ encyclical (see encyclical resources).
– As an individualParticipate in GCCM webinars on different themes relating to climate change, Laudato Si, and care for creation.

REDUCE YOUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT

– As a community: Explore ways to reduce your ecological footprint and transition off fossil fuels using these resources.
– As an individual consider committing to Meatless Fridays, using resuable water bottles and mugs, or getting ideas from here.

ADVOCATE

Promote the Catholic Climate Petition in preparation of the U.N. COP21 Climate Summit in November:
– As a community: Identify a weekend to have a petition drive in your local parish using this petition toolkit.
– As an individual: Talk to a local school or youth group about climate change and encourage them to sign the youth version of the Catholic Climate Petition.

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