Season of creation
One of the most welcome observances of the new millennium is the annual celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Creation. Inching laboriously to gain global traction, this was started in 1989 by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I for the Orthodox Church. It took almost 12 years before it caught the attention of major Christian European churches in 2001. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is globally singled out for coming up with a stronger push in its pastoral statement released in 2003 titled, “Celebrating Creation Day and Creation Time.”
But this was widely popularized when Pope Francis institutionalized the celebration of prayer for the care of creation in September 2015—four months after release of the encyclical letter Laudato Si’. He wrote: “I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on 1 September, as has been the custom of the Orthodox Church for some time”.
The Season of Creation (also known as Creation Time) is an ecumenical celebration that for many Christian Churches, but especially the Catholic Church, is celebrated from September 1 to October 4, which is the date of the feast St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of those who promote ecology.
The concern for the environment, or of the lack of it, is one of the greatest challenges of this generation. While a good number of multinational corporations, and even countries, continue to play deaf ear to ecological responsibility, more and more people are seriously crusading to save and care “for our common home”. There are already a good number of governments that have committed to take drastic measure to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the average increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius with respect to pre-industrial levels, in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals.
Most of the Dioceses in the Philippines, if not all, have dutifully celebrated this year’s Season of Creation which, commendably enough, was spearheaded by the youth groups.