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CAFOD invites you to celebrate the Season of Creation

The annual ecumenical Season of Creation started on September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends on October 4, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Jane Crone from CAFOD in East Anglia explores this year’s theme and ways in which parishes can get involved.  

The theme of the 2021 Season of Creation is ‘A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God’. Oikos is the Greek word for ‘home,’ or ‘household’ and the symbol of this year’s Season is Abraham’s tent. In Genesis Abraham and Sarah opened their tent as a home for three strangers, who turned out to be angels. Their act of hospitality is a symbol of our being called to human fraternity and social friendship and to care for all of creation, as it is the household (oikos) of God. 

In his 2015 Encyclical Laudato si’ on care for our common home, Pope Francis calls the material universe ‘a caress of God’ quoting St John Paul II: ‘God has written a precious book, “whose letters are the multitude of created things present in the universe”’ (Laudato si’ 85.)

God reveals himself to us through creation as ‘the universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely’. (Laudato si’ 233)

Caring for the world, our common home, is an essential part of Christian life. Writing about the Season of Creation, Monsignor Bruno-Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said:

This year’s symbol Abraham’s tent…. reminds us that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (Laudato si’ 217).

The ecumenical Season of Creation website  invites to get involved in three ways. Firstly, through prayer, perhaps by hosting an ecumenical prayer gathering to bring together Christians in the care of our common home.

Over 1800 UK churches have now registered to organise a Climate Sunday service as part of the Climate Sunday Ecumenical Project.  A CAFOD Climate Sunday resource is on our website here. Other useful resources on the CAFOD website include a creation rosary and ideas for family prayers. Secondly, by acting sustainably, perhaps by leading a local clean-up project that helps all of creation thrive. Finally, through advocacy, speaking up for climate justice by participating in or leading an ongoing action.

St Laurence’s Parish is one of six parishes in the Diocese of East Anglia to have received a Live Simply Awardfor living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor, a commitment they renew every year. This July they did this by organising a Laudato si’ Mass petition signing, and a garden clean up. You can read a full account of this on the CAFOD in East Anglia blog

Earlier in the month a group from the three Cambridge churches met with their MP Daniel Zeichner to discuss COP 26 and the post-pandemic world they, as Catholics, want to see. At the end Daniel Zeichner said he found the meeting ‘a very uplifting discussion’.  For more information on CAFOD’s current campaigns take a look at our website.

As the climate crisis deepens and the world’s leaders prepare for COP 26 in Glasgow this November, the Season of Creation is a time for Christians to respond to the signs of the times by acting boldly. During the Angelus on 29 August Pope Francis greeted the Laudato Si’ Movement with these words.

‘Thank you for your commitment to our common home, particularly on the World Day of Prayer for Creation and of the subsequent Time of Creation. The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor are becoming ever more serious and alarming, and they call for a decisive and urgent action to transform this crisis into an opportunity.’

If you’d like to discuss how you can celebrate the Season of Creation in your parish or school, please do get in touch I’d love to help: jcrone@cafod.org.uk 07779 804252