By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 September, 2015
By marking World Day of Prayer for All of Creation the Church is calling the faithful to think of those most acutely feeling the consequences of environmental degradation and destruction, Bishop John McAreavey said on Monday.
The Bishop of Dromore, who is chair of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, highlighted that those worst affected are some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the developing world.
He said the injustice of those affected was all the greater since they had contributed least to the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources.
Pope Francis in August announced the World Day of Prayer which is taking place in the global Church today 1 September 2015.
Welcoming the initiative on behalf of the Irish bishops, Dr McAreavey said the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace saw it as an opportunity for repentance for the ways in which our lifestyles may be contributing to the suffering of others.
“We need to have the courage to hear the cry of the poor and see how this is connected to the cry of the earth,” he said.
“The key message of this day is one of empowerment: through prayer we can make a difference … It demonstrates to our elected representatives that the protection of creation is important to us,” he said.
He continued, “Many local Church communities around the world are preparing to mark Creation Time with a special liturgy celebrating the joy of creation, alongside awareness-raising activities to protect the natural environment.”
“With this new World Day of Prayer, the Holy Father reminds us that this work connects us both to God and to all people throughout the world. It builds on the very positive local leadership demonstrated by Churches.”
In his statement, Bishop McAreavey said this “moment of global solidarity is in stark contrast to the destructive individualism which was highlighted by Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’” which was published in May, and appeals to every person living on our planet to take care of our common home.
The Pope said, “It 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 marvellous 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.”
This evening, Christians of all denominations in Dublin have been invited by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin to respond to Pope Francis’ call, with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for all Creation.
Archbishop Martin and leaders of the Christian Churches in Dublin will come together to mark this unique occasion in prayer, music and reflection.
The ceremony takes place at 7:30pm in Holy Cross Church, Holy Cross Diocesan Centre, Clonliffe in Dublin, and will include readings and reflections on Laudato Si’, with music from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, with Ellen Cranitch and Denise Kelly, Psalms of Praise for Creation and Thanksgiving as the Harvest approaches.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has encouraged the faithful to organise an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in their particular Churches for World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
The proposal, which opens with a brief audio-visual welcome, is offered on the dicastery’s website, www.iustitiaetpax.va, under the special section dedicated to Laudato Si’.
The proposed programme for the hour of Eucharistic Adoration offers an introductory Collect from the Orthodox tradition, to be followed by selected passages of the Word of God.
There are passages from Genesis (1:26-2:3 and 2:15), which provide the narrative of Creation and of God’s will to take man “and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it”.
This reading is followed by Psalm 148, in which all creatures are called to give praise for the wonders created on the earth: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights!”
Also proposed is a passage from the Gospel according to Matthew (6:25-33), in which Jesus says that our life is worth more than food, and our body more than clothing: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
Three passages from the Laudato Si’ then follow: In the first (nn. 8-9), the Pope recalls that Patriarch Bartholomew “has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, … ‘inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage’”.
In the second (n. 236), the Pontiff highlights that in the Eucharist “all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation”.
In the third (nn. 241-242), the Pope refers to Mary and Joseph, pointing out of the Virgin in particular, that “Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power”.
The Intercessions call for prayer that Christians seek first God’s kingdom, strive to grow in spirit, to bear much fruit, to work for the good of the Church, and that all generations may share in the goods of creation.
The proposed programme concludes with the recitation of the Our Father, the concluding blessing, and a passage from the Pope’s letter of 6 August to Cardinal Turkson and Cardinal Koch for the establishment of the World Day.
There is also a special World Day of Creation web feature on www.catholicbishops.ie
The Irish bishops have also proposed the following prayers to be said by the faithful today:
Prayers for Creation Time:
A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
You guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!