The Season of Creation is a time for action

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

The Season of Creation, which begins each year Sept. 1 and lasts through the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4, has always been a time for prayer, reflection and thanksgiving, a time to open our eyes and see the beauty of God’s creation. But this year our prayers are meant to spur action — concerted, global, political action.

“Together we can choose to act with love, justice and mercy. Together we can walk towards a fairer and fulfilling society with those who are most vulnerable at the centre. But this involves making changes,” wrote Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, leaders of a clear majority of the world’s 2.5 billion Christians (80 million Anglicans, 300 million Orthodox, 1.3 billion Catholics). “We must change route and discover new ways of working together to break down the traditional barriers between peoples, to stop competing for resources and start collaborating.”

Pope Francis has pledged to gather the prayers of this season and carry them with him to Glasgow, Scotland, for the 26th United Nations climate summit Nov. 1-12.

Canada’s Catholic bishops wholeheartedly support the Season of Creation and the solemn teaching of the Church found in the 2015 papal encyclical Laudato Si’, said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson Lisa Gall.

“Canada’s bishops remain steadfastly committed to encouraging the care of creation and our common home,” Gall wrote in an e-mail.

Just before the Season of Creation began, the CCCB tweeted out a link to a one-paragraph statement informing Canadian Catholics that “The celebration calls on the global Christian community to promote prayer and action to protect our common home.” The bishops’ tweet also links to the ecumenical Season of Creation website,

The Canadian bishops have emphasized the ecumenical in their own efforts to support the Pope’s teaching on the environment, Gall said. She pointed to the Roman Catholic-United Church Dialogue’s joint report on climate change in 2019 and a 2017 ecumenical prayer vigil prepared by the Roman Catholic-United Church Dialogue in support of International Earth Hour.

“The CCCB remains always in deep communion with Pope Francis’s teaching on this crucial social justice issue and wholeheartedly embraces his entire magisterium and all the life-giving initiatives that flow from it,” Gall said.

But there is no reason for lay people to leave bishops to do their work for them. Faithful political action falls to ordinary Christians.

“The duty most consonant with our times, especially for Christians, is that of working diligently for fundamental decisions to be taken in economic and political affairs,” Second Vatican Council fathers wrote in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes.

In Canada, the Laudato Si Movement – Canada is making it easy for Canadian Catholics to take action. An online petition at gives everyone a chance to back the Pope when he appears in Glasgow. The petition will be presented to world leaders there.

“Our common home and common family are suffering. The climate emergency is causing rising seas, a warmer planet and more extreme weather. It’s devastating the lives of our poorest sisters and brothers,” reads the prologue to the petition. “At the same time, biologists estimate that we’re driving species to extinction at a rate of 100 to 1,000 times their usual rate. “We have no such right” (Laudato Si’ 33).”

The Season of Creation traces its origins back to the Orthodox Church and the initiative of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. In 2015 it was endorsed by Pope Francis and its observance has grown steadily. This year’s theme for the Season of Creation is “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God.”

Oikos is the biblical Greek word for a household or home. Season of Creation organizers have adopted the image of Abraham’s tent as a kind of central symbol for this year’s month-long celebration of care for creation.

“The tent can also be present in liturgies or events throughout the Season of Creation as a symbol of the community’s intention to create a home for all,” said Season of Creation organizers in a release.

Parishes, schools and communities are urged to participate in the Season of Creation through prayer, sustainability projects and advocacy. The Season of Creation website has suggestions for organizing an ecumenical prayer service, local clean-up projects and ways to campaign for divestment from fossil fuels.