SEASON OF CREATION

2021 marks the 6th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment entitled Laudato Si’: On care for our Common Home. This anniversary was celebrated throughout the world and in Rome in May 2021.

This year, as in previous years, the Season of Creation will be celebrated from 1st September – 4th October. It is an opportunity to give thanks to God for the gift of creation, to explore the rich content of Laudato Si’ and decide on what actions should be taken locally to care for our common home.

The theme for the Season of Creation this year is “A Home for All?: Restoring Our Common Home”.

We are pleased to bring to your attention Liturgical Resources for use during the Season of Creation which will be celebrated from 1st September – 4th October 2021.

These resources are now available for downloading on the website of the Irish Episcopal Conference and our own diocese at https://www.armagharchdiocese.org/season-of-creation-1st-september-4th-october-2021/.

The resources are made up as follows:

  1. An Introduction to the Season of Creation, and Earth Day Prayer Service and a Prayer Service for Wednesday 1st September 2021. This could serve as a Prayer Service in the parish, or as a resource for an ecumenical gathering with other churches, or at the opening of the school year, or during the weekday Mass.
  2. Resources for the Sundays between 1st September and 4th October 2021, covering a Penitential Service, Notes for a homily, Prayers of the Faithful, a post-Communion Reflection, and the Dismissal at the end of Mass.
  3. An outline of practical actions that parishioners might take during the Season of Creation which includes a ritual for tree planting.
  1. A Season of Creation Leaflet for parishes containing information on biodiversity initiatives and other activities.

In addition to the Resources, you will also find, later in August, Podcasts on the website of the Irish Episcopal Conference relating to the Season of Creation.

After the Season of Creation there will be a meeting in October of world leaders in China for a UN Biodiversity Conference (known as COP 15) and another UN meeting on Climate Change in November of world leaders in Scotland on (known as COP 26).

In preparation for these UN meetings there will be a petition known as the Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition available at http://healthyplanetandpeople.org/ for dioceses, parishes, and individuals to sign. It is envisaged that this petition with signatures will be presented by Pope Francis to the Presidents of these upcoming UN conferences.

The Season of Creation, of course, should be celebrated in a way that adheres to the Government Guidelines concerning the Covid-19 crisis during 1September – 4 October 2021.

Finally, you may wish to know that these Resources have been prepared by the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Council for Catechetics.  We hope you will find them helpful and, of course, you should feel free to adapt them to suit the local circumstances of your parish and schools.

A prayer for our earth from Laudato Si’ 
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.
Amen.

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!
Amen.

Meadow Meaning – A Reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick OFM Cap 

Shhhhh…
Look…
Listen…
Even
the blades of grass
Even
the flowers
you dare to call
weeds
Even
the light fast lives
of tiny buzzing
beings
hear the call of Divine
love
and give them
selves totally to
grow towards the
light.
And what of
you?

Forest Faith – a reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick Ofm Cap 

When the edges of my mind fray,
and the golden sacred thread
seems pulled, gathered, caught
upon the briar of my broken being,
and my hearthome holds too much
behind its ancient doors
so there is no breathing space at all,
I take myself to the woods.
For there I become not young,
but small again and feel the rising
ocean tides of sap lull me at last
into the deep greening rest of soul
only the old tall ones know
the sky touchers, earth drinkers
we call in our dull infant speech, simply Trees.
So I place my foot upon the winding path
and dew the way with tears and sometimes even blood,
until their windleaf song sounds soul deep, and slows and halts me long enough
to feel their verdant canopy of calm,
and I greet them then,
as the keepers of the way they are;
the blessed Beech and noble Holly,
the Oak and Ash and Thorn,
grey brown brothers and sisters
of the branching dance of being.
Their familiar oldness a reminder
of my passing place
in all this; they leaflean down
to teach me once again the way of prayer
as being and being as prayer,
allowing the holy breath to play along my spine as within their trunked tallness
while standing through the shifting seasons
they grow slowly, imperceptibly, always,
until flower and fruiting follow in their turn,
then the seeming fall, asleep asunder for awhile,
as my life now flutters, cast upon the winds
lost in wildness, a wintered leaf, dry and brittle,
but here in their stately shadows
daring to read the scripture of their state,
and hear their prophecy proclaimed in stillness; that old roots dig deep and deeper still, that branches bend so not to break and that there is a joy in storms when yielded to.
So for a while I breathe the sylvan air
and greet the great and green,
these guardians of natural grace,
and then when I have walked long enough to become reminded, rewilded and rehomed in heart, I bow in thanks
and leave the woods to plant their sainted seeds throughout my world and life;
to feel a forest grow within
and make the faith feathered one
a home.

Pope Francis on Caring for Our Common Home 

“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.” “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”   “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.”   “We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us.”   “The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.”   “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.   Click here for resources on the Care of Creation from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

The following resources are offered for use in dioceses, parishes and in the home, during the Season of Creation 2021: 

  1. Sunday Liturgy Notes for the Season of Creation 2021 – This resource includes homily notes for each Sunday, prayers of the faithful, music suggestions, reflections and mass parts which highlight the call to restore God’s creation.
  2. A weekday Prayer Service for the Season of Creation 2021 – This ecumenical resource could be used to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Creation on 1 September in an ecumenical setting, or as a resource that could be used for the celebration of the Eucharist in parishes, or at any other time between 1st September and 4th October, feast of Saint, Francis of Assisi. We have prepared it for a formal church setting or for use out-of-doors.  
  3. An Earth Day Prayer Service – This beautiful service was compiled by Balally Parish, Dublin to celebrate Earth Day in 2021 but could be adapted and used as part of any Season of Creation event. It includes a reflection by Father Dermot Lane. 
  4. Practical Actions for Parishes 2021
  5. Tree Planting Resource for the Season of Creation 2021 – Restore Our Common Home this year by engaging your parish or diocese in Tree Planting initiatives. Thanks to ‘Easy Treesie’ we have all the tips you need and prayers for tree planting. 
  6. Season of Creation Brochure Digital – A colourful resourcewith many practical tips and reflections on how to Restore Our Common Home. From the JPIC committee in the Diocese of Kerry and the Laudato Si’ Working Group. Season Of Creation Brochure for printing
  7. Acts of Love for the Season of Creation 2021 – PowerPoint with practical suggestions for each day of the Season. With many thanks to the Care for Creation team at Bonnybrook Parish Dublin for sharing this resource with us. 
  8. Season of Creation Prayer 2021 – A Video Reflection which can be used for meetings, prayers, on social media or in parishes with PowerPoint accessibility. (see below for video) 

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