The beginning of the Liturgical Year for Eastern Orthodox Christians is Sept. 1. In 1989, the Patriarch of Constantinople declared it the Day of Prayer for Creation and asked people throughout the world to observe it as such. It was later extended to an entire season, beginning Sept. 1 and ending Oct. 4, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In 2015, Pope Francis asked Catholics to join the observance. Now it is sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Vatican, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Methodist Council and the World Council of Churches.
The image for the 2023 observance is a mighty river and the theme is “Let Peace and Justice Flow,” taken from the Prophet Amos: “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24)
In his message for the Season, Pope Francis focused on the drought facing the world. All people of goodwill are invited to pray for creation during this season. What follows are excerpts from a Prayer for Creation by Jane Goodall:
We pray that at all times we keep our minds open to new ideas;
that we grow in our care for nature and all living things;
that we become more and more full of compassion and love for all life;
that we try to heal the wounds we have inflicted on nature
and control our greed for material things,
knowing that our actions are damaging our natural world
and the future of our sons and daughters.
We pray for social justice and the alleviation of crippling poverty
that condemns millions around the world to live in misery: hungry, sick, and completely hopeless.
We pray for the children who are dying of hunger,
doomed to homelessness, slave labor, and prostitution,
and for those who are forced to fight, kill and torture others.
We pray for the victims of violence and war,
for the people wounded in the body and wounded in their spirit.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees,
forced to leave their homes for foreign places
because of war or the complete destruction of their environment.
We pray for animals everywhere that suffer,
and for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation,
intensive agriculture, fur farms, hunting, training for entertainment,
abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation
such as overloading and overwork of pack animals,
bullfights, dog and cockfights and much more.
We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals,
and an end intimidation and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may know the peace that comes from forgiveness
and the strength that is in love.
We pray for these things with humility;
and with faith in the final triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation,
and our trust in you, oh God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.
Father Jose Rubio is the Retired in Residence pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Gilroy. He is one of the original members of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County. Father Jose can be reached at [email protected].