Flowers in Kerala 

By Francesca Merlo

Sep 2 2022

The Season for Creation kicks off with a World Day of Prayer for Creation, supported by the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe who highlight the manmade devastation in recent times.

“Listen to the voice of creation” is the theme and invitation of this year’s Season of Creation, which opens on Thursday with the World Day of Prayer.

Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, marked on 1 September, was published on 16 July.

The devastation

In the lead-up to the Season, which lasts from 1 September until 4 October, the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) released a statement, highlighting the devastation that fires have caused throughout European countries as a consequence of the mistreatment of our common home.

“Our own Europe has been faced with a genuine environmental catastrophe that, in 97% of cases, is attributable to the actions of man”, reads the statement. In the 27 countries within the European Union, according to a recent estimate, fires have already devastated a total of 517,881 hectares since the beginning of the year, compared to 470,359 the previous year.

Scholars are already hypothesising the transition from our era (Anthropocene) to the next one, to which they have already given the name “pyrocene”, the effects of which are already visible considering that CO2 emissions have reached levels that the planet has not known for well over 3 million years.

The war in Ukraine

Adding to all this damage, the commission goes on to highlight the extra damage caused to the environment by the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as all those in other areas of the planet.

The Message of the Holy Father Francis is “not a pious exhortation”, but “a real challenge” launched to the powerful of the earth and to the leaders of the individual nations (be they rich or poor), each for their own part. The entire season for creation can be a time of prayer, but also a time of serious conversion of attitudes and habits.

“We, European Bishops, join the appeal launched by Pope Francis, inviting all Christians to be spokesmen for these demands of the Planet, whose voice reveals “a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home”.

Finally, the statement reads, “may the Lord hear this cry and grant mankind a new heart, capable of showing compassion to the whole of creation, so that concrete gestures may be put in place to allow all creatures to return to praise the Creator and us to join in this ‘grandiose cosmic choir’ made up of countless creatures, all singing the praises of God'”. – Vatican News