Join in praying for the care of creation Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 01, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Sometimes when I’m driving home in the evening, I am treated to a panoramic view of the sunset on the west side of Madison.

The vibrant colors of red and gold in the sky are amazing. It prompts me to say a quick prayer of thanksgiving to God for the beauty of our world.

Unfortunately, it’s a world we often take for granted. And if we don’t start paying more attention, we might not be able to enjoy this beautiful world as much in the future.

World Day of Prayer

To remind us to pay attention, Pope Francis in 2015 declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. He joined the Orthodox Church in this practice, something that Church has done since 1989.

Pope Francis said, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvelous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

How to get involved

So how can we join in this observance? Here are some suggestions from the Global Catholic Climate Movement:

• Begin your day by praying one of the prayers that Pope Francis composed for his Laudato Si’ encyclical or “A Prayer for Our Earth” found on the website

• Continue to pray throughout the day, such as praying the Rosary or other prayers or devotions.

• Incorporate prayers during Mass, especially in the Prayers of the Faithful.

• Get involved in taking action to protect creation.

Need for clean water

One specific issue we might consider is the need for more access to dependable, clean sources of water. Some 660 million people are without adequate drinking water, and every year millions, mostly children, die from diseases linked to poor water supply and sanitation, according to the United Nations.

Finding solutions to global water issues was the focus of an interfaith meeting August 29 in Stockholm, Sweden. Carol Glatz of Catholic New Service reported on an address given by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Turkson said that religious leaders could help organize “interreligious campaigns for cleaning rivers or lakes in order to foster mutual respect, peace, and friendship among different groups,” as well as promote “a wise hierarchy of priorities for the use of water,” especially where there are competing demands.

Water is another part of creation that most of us take for granted. There are many aspects of this issue to address in our own local communities. We can also examine our personal use of water and look for ways to conserve it.

Care of creation should be a priority for all of us. Let’s join in prayer, not only on September 1, but throughout the year, to thank God for his gift of creation and to ask Him to help us protect it.