Rome (Italy). From 1 September, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to 4 October 2021, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Season of Creation is celebrated, a time in which “Christians throughout the world renew their faith in God the creator and unite in a special way in prayer and action for the safeguarding of the common home.” (Pope Francis, Message for the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 2021)
The theme of the year – “A home for everyone? Renewing the oikos of God – inspired by the Psalm “The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who live there” (Ps 24: 1), takes up the concept of oikos, a Greek word that indicates the home, understood as a common home , the planet Earth, and as a family, made up of all its inhabitants. The baptismal call asks to cultivate and guard God’s garden, participating in the renewal of the inhabited Earth, so that life can flourish and everyone can have a fair and sustainable home.
The logo of the Season of Creation 2021 is the tent of Abraham, who with his wife Sarah opened to welcome three strangers (Gen 18), a symbol of the ecumenical call to practice the care of creation as an act of radical hospitality, safeguarding a place for all creatures – human and otherwise – in the common home, oikos of God. The tent is a place of refuge and a symbol of openness in creating spaces for dialogue and discernment.
There are several ways to celebrate the Season of Creation: organizing as a Community moments of prayer and adoration, a walk in creation or a pilgrimage, praying for the environment and intensifying the relationship with God, with creation, with brothers and sisters.
It is also a favorable time to reflect on how one’s lifestyles affect the environment and to commit to reducing the impact of one’s consumption through educational events, campaigns, and individual, community, and institutional actions.
On the Website Season of Creation, an Ecumenical Steering Committee, set up to coordinate activities and to help Christians around the world achieve the goals of this time, makes various resources available, including Prayer 2021 and a Guide for Celebration with reflections, initiatives, campaigns, and prayer proposals.
There are numerous world events planned, available on the website, to disseminate the initiatives and encourage participation. The first is The Ecumenical Encounter of prayer online on 1 September 2021 at I:PM (Italian time).
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of Laudato si’ invites you to join the ecumenical family in the celebration of the Season of Creation, in the awareness that “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” (LS 217).
At the end of the Season of Creation on 4 October 2021, the process of opening the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, announced by Pope Francis with a video message in May 2021: “ a seven-year journey that will see our communities committed in different ways to becoming totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology. … we will let ourselves be guided by the seven aims of Laudato si’, which will show us the direction while we pursue the vision of integral ecology: the response to the cry of the Earth, the response to the cry of the poor, the ecological economy, the adoption of a simple way of life, ecological education, ecological spirituality, and community engagement”.
“It is a reason for particular joy that the Time of Creation is becoming a truly ecumenical initiative. We continue to grow in the awareness that we all live in a common home as members of the same family!”
Origins of Season of Creation: The Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989 proclaimed for the Orthodox, September 1 as a Day of Prayer for Creation: in fact, the liturgical year of the Orthodox Church begins that day, with a commemoration of how God created the world. The World Council of Churches contributed to highlighting this time, extending the celebration from 1st September to 4th October. Following the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I and the World Council of Churches, Christians around the world have embraced this time as an integral part of their annual calendar. Pope Francis welcomed it into the Roman Catholic Church and made it official in 2015. In recent years, religious leaders around the world have encouraged the faithful to take time to occupy themselves with creation in this month of celebrations.