The season starts 1 September, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.
Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed 1 September as a day of prayer for creation for the Orthodox Church in 1989. Next the World Council of Churches was instrumental in making the special time a season, extending the celebration from 1 September until 4 October. Pope Francis made the Catholic Church’s involvement in the season official in 2015. He also established 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation saying that this occasion; “…will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”
While the above quotation from Pope Frances refers to the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation it also encapsulates what the Season of Creation is all about. Christians worldwide are encouraged to use this time to commit themselves to making greater efforts to care for creation during the month-long celebration. This commitment is both spiritual and practical. The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. It is a time for prayer, commitment and action for our common home and on behalf of our common human family.
There are many resources available on-line to help us to use this time well, through prayer, though informing ourselves and through action to care for creation. For example, have a look at the Season of Creation Website which gives a list of on-line events and webinars that we can attend and through which we can join our sisters and brothers in prayer and in learning how we can do more to care for the world we share. The website of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference has an excellent section on the Season of Creation This contains resources for Liturgy and Prayer as well as information on practical actions that we, as parish communities and individuals, can take to care for our environment. These resources are well worth taking the time to look at.
“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed how deeply the globe is interconnected. We realised more than ever that we are not isolated from each other and that conditions related to human health and well-being are fragile. The impact of the pandemic forces us to take seriously the need for vigilance and the need for conditions of sustainable life throughout the earth. This is even more important when considering the environmental devastation and the threat of climate change.” European Church leaders’ statement on Season of Creation Aug 25th, 2020
The degradation of our world through our overuse of its resources, the pollution and climate change we cause is an injustice already affecting the poorest and which will be a burden that future generations have to bear. This year, our world has been shaken, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. During this Season of Creation we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation. It is a time when we are all called on to make a greater effort.
The Season of Creation unites the world’s 2.2 billion Christians around one shared purpose. With so much injustice all around us, now is the time for Christians everywhere to come together and show the world how to love each other and creation.