Listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor

Rome (Italy). On 6 August 2015, Pope Francis instituted a Day of Prayer for the Care of our ‘Common Home’: “Sharing with our beloved Brother, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s concerns for the future of creation…I wish to communicate that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church as well the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”, which, starting from this year, will be celebrated on September 1st, as it has been celebrated for some time in the Orthodox Church”.

With these words, Pope Francis reaffirms what was already expressed in the Encyclical “Laudato si” and invites everyone to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor who suffer the most from ecological imbalances. The Day provides an opportunity to renew personal commitment in regard to the gift received, to thank God for the marvels of Creation that He has given to His children, and to assume with renewed conviction the responsibility to face the Planet’s ecological crisis by following the path of a true ecological conversion.

The Message for the Day 2017 expresses a pronounced ecumenical character insofar as it was prepared together with Pope Francis and “our dear brother Bartholomew”, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The Bishops’ Conferences of the whole world, national and international Organizations involved in the ecological sector, have spread orientations and resources to support the initiative.

United in the same preoccupation for God’s creation and recognizing that the earth is a common good, we warmly invite all people of good will to dedicate September 1 as a time of prayer for the environment. On this occasion, we wish to offer our gratitude to our benevolent Creator for the magnificent gift of creation and commit ourselves to safeguard it and to preserve it for the good of future generations. Finally, we know that we labor in vain if the Lord is not at our side (Cf. Psalm 126/127), if prayer is not at the center of our reflections and celebrations. In fact, a goal of our prayer is to change the way in which we perceive the world with the aim of changing the way in which we relate with the world. The goal of what we propose is to be daring in embracing simplicity and greater solidarity in our life styles” (Joint message of Pope Francis and of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the World Day of Prayer for Creation).

The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has chosen the theme: “A world to love and to travel”, which recalls the human condition of eternal pilgrims. “Within the perimeter of our heart, as on the frontiers of the earth, the common home we call ‘mother’ and ‘sister’, we treat and often wound as though it were a stranger”.

Thus Pope Francis affirms that “God always forgives; we humans sometimes forgive; but creation never forgives, and if you do not take care of it, it will destroy you” (General Audience, May 21, 2014).

The environmental challenge we are living and its human roots regard us and touch everyone. What is climate change bringing? Why are lack of water, floods, tsunamis, environmental contamination, and many other natural phenomena occurring? We hope to be in synergy with the world ecological movement that has already made a long and rich journey, to favor ecological education and spirituality that make us the living praise to the Creator of the Universe, aware that our every action has positive or negative repercussions for the common good.

Entire message in five languages:

Prayer

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