The Season of Creation has a special significance for the Catholic Church, particularly since Pope Francis established 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The Season of Creation is marked throughout the Christian world from 1 September to 4 October (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) and celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.
This year's theme is "Let Justice and Peace Flow" taking inspiration from the Prophet Amos who declares: "Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (Amos 5: 24). And so we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity. As the people of God, we must work together on behalf of all Creation, as part of that mighty river of peace and justice.
Resources for parishes
We hope that the following resources will help you and your parish community to celebrate the Season of Creation 2023. The resources below are compiled by the Laudato Si' Working Group of the Irish Bishop's Conference. You can find further resources on the international website: www.seasonofcreation.org
- Sunday Liturgy Notes for Season of Creation 2023: This resource includes homily notes for each Sunday, prayers of the faithful, music suggestions, reflections and mass parts which highlight the call to "Let Justice and Peace Flow".
- A River Ritual: This is a resource for a ritual to be celebrated by a river or stream. Given the theme of this year's Season of Creation, and the reality that every Irish diocese has a river or sea access point – it seemed very appropriate to offer a ritual prayer that we could celebrate near a riverbank. We hope that this opportunity to gather out of doors in "the cathedral of nature" will be a support and inspiration for all involved.
- Season of Creation Biodiversity Leaflet: A colourful resource with many practical tips and reflections on how to "Let Justice and Peace Flow like a Mighty River" for Biodiversity this Season of Creation. This is an A5 Leaflet from the JPIC committee in the Diocese of Kerry and the Laudato Si' Working Group. For printing purposes please use this version.
- Creation Walk Moments: adapted from the booklet by Fr. Brian Grogan SJ, Creation Walk: The Amazing Story of a Small Blue Planet. You might use this resource in your parish community by setting up moments around the church, or around your parish, to convey the different stages of the story of our Universe. This resource will provide people with an opportunity to experience the wonder and awe of God's creation and to become familiar with the story of our Universe.
- Video Reflection of Pope Francis' Message for Season of Creation 2023: "When we "seek first the kingdom of God" (Mt 6:33), maintaining a right relationship with God, humanity and nature, then justice and peace can flow like a never-failing stream of pure water, nourishing humanity and all creatures." This video reflection can be used as part of liturgies, parish meetings during the Season or linked to your parish website and social media pages. With thanks to Finbarr Keaveney, Laudato Si' Animator.
- Brother River Meditation: A three-minute reflection of nature sounds and visuals. This could be used at the start of a liturgy or a meeting to help people reflect on this year's theme: "Let Justice and Peace Flow".
- Tree Planting Resource: Engage your parish or diocese in Tree Planting initiatives this year. Thanks to 'Easy Treesie' we have all the tips you need and prayers for a tree planting service.
- A Blessing for Animals: On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4) parishes might like to invite people to bring their pets for a special blessing. This resource will help support this activity. "Praise be to you my Lord, with all your creatures." (Canticle of Creation).
- An Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching: This two pager is a short introduction for parish groups on the social teaching of the church.
A message on the Season of Creation from our dear friend Noel Bradley RIP.
Thank you Noel.
What is Laudato Si?
Pope Francis' encyclical letter 'Laudato Si' - Care of our common home' is addressed to "every person living on this planet". Laudato Si' was published on 18 June 2015, in eight languages. At the time, many held great hopes that it would be a powerful voice of influence in three major UN moments, one of which was the UNFCCC Paris Agreement on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
What is an encyclical?
An encyclical is a letter circulated by the Pope to Catholic churches worldwide. It is sent directly from our Holy Father in Rome to Catholics all over the world and is often addressed to all people of good will, namely non-Catholics who may also want to read the document. Pope Francis' encyclical 'Laudato Si' - Care of our common home' is addressed to "every person living on this planet".
Where can I see the Laudato Si letter?
The encyclical letter 'Laudato Si' is published on the Vatican website - click here to view.
DERRY DIOCESE LAUDATO SI GROUP
Formed in 2016, the Diocesan Laudato Si' Group is a response to Pope Francis' urgent challenge to hear "the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor."
The group promotes the message that true discipleship requires us to care for the Earth and
supports individuals, groups, parishes and schools in becoming active in caring for our Common Home.
If your parish would like to know more about how you can help to care for our common home, please contact:
Patricia McCormack, Laudato Si Derry
Tel: 077 1190 0420 / +44 77 1190 0420