It’s time for ecology
On September 1 we celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which opens the so-called “Season of Creation”, a time of prayer and ecological action that ends on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecologists and animals for the Catholic Church.
A time dedicated to Creation and its most fragile creatures, in which to enhance the integral network of relationships that sustain the well-being of the Earth: this is the purpose of the “Season of Creation”, the Christian celebration of prayer and action for the common home that begins on September 1 and ends on October 4. About a month, dedicated to spreading and witnessing, in a special way, to integral ecology and learning to make it your own.
The theme for this year is: “A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God”. Òikos (ancient Greek: οἶκος, plural οἶκοι) means family, home, and an oikos was also the basic unit of Greek society that included the head of the family, his family members, and the slaves in his home and businesses. In short, a social group linked by relationships. Thus, by rooting the theme in the concept of oikos, Season of Creation 2021 intends to celebrate the integral network of relationships that sustain the Earth’s well-being.
“The word ecology (oikologia) describes the relationships between animals, plants, non-sentient organisms, and minerals that each play a vital role in maintaining the balance of this beloved community. Each creature is important and contributes to the health and resilience of the biodiverse ecosystem in which it lives”, explain the Steering Committee members in the Celebration Guide. They continue: “Economic (oikonomia), social and political relationships affect the balance of creation. Everything that we fabricate, use and produce has its origin in the Earth, whether mineral, plant or animal based. Our habits of consuming energy and goods affect the resilience of planetary systems, and the capacity of the Earth to heal itself and sustain life. Economic and political relationships have direct effects on the human family”.
This is why the logo chosen for the 2021 initiative is the image of a tent, which is meant to recall Abraham’s tent and represents, as the organizers explain: “Our commitment to safeguarding a place for all who share our common home, just as Abraham did in the Book of Genesis”.
The invitation to the communities of the world, then, is to pray, of course, but also to mobilize, to initiate sustainability projects with and for the most vulnerable, opening the “tent” of their relationships to the excluded.
Many ideas and concrete proposals that can be found on the website of the initiative: https://seasonofcreation.org (available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Polish). In addition, always on the website, you can register your event directly on the homepage, thus becoming part of this global network for the care of the Earth.
We, too, want to join the initiative this month, strengthening our commitment to people and the planet through the campaign #daretocare and starting, if we have not yet done so, our personal ecological conversion.
A bit of history
Already in 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed September 1 as the “Day of Prayer for Creation,” making it coincide with the celebration of the first day of the Orthodox liturgical year, which begins with a commemoration of the Creation of the world. Subsequently, the World Council of Churches contributed to making this occasion special, extending the celebrations from September 1 to October 4, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecologists and animals, venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and by the Anglican Communion, but respected and loved globally by people of all cultures, faiths and traditions.
Led by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I and the World Council of Churches, Christians around the world have embraced this season as part of their annual calendar.
In recent years, there have been many statements from religious leaders around the world encouraging the faithful to take time to care for Creation, during this month of celebration.