27 August 2020, The Tablet

Parishes celebrate the 'season of creation'

Parishes celebrate the 'season of creation'

General view of Storr in Skye at sunset, Scotland, taken yesterday.
Steven Paston/EMPICS Entertainment

Dioceses have picked up on the invitation from Pope Francis and the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to take part in the Season of Creation, which takes the theme, Jubilee for the Earth. A Season of Creation 2020 Prayer Card is being distributed.

Parish celebration of the Season of Creation, from 1 September to 4 October, has included Abingdon Live Simply parish producing a series of six articles for the Portsmouth diocesan weekly on-line newsletter. “The sixth focuses on how live-streaming, with a much bigger congregation, offers a great opportunity to bring the Season of Creation to a new audience,” says Anne Dodd. Symbols, such as water and soil, will be placed in front of the altar and bidding prayers related to themes such as plastic waste. The lectern will be decorated with the youth group’s Care for Creation hanging and the parish website contains a Season of Creation action calendar for the month.

Clifton Diocese has weekly online reflections starting this weekend which can be used by individuals or parish groups. Salford Diocese hosted a zoom talk on 26 August by Sr Margaret Atkins titled The God who speaks through Creation. A Canoness of St Augustine in the community at Boarbank Hall, Cumbria, she wrote the 2015 paperback, Catholics and Our Common Home: Caring for the Planet.

Westminster Diocese held a zoom meeting on 13 July which informed around 50 participants of resources and urged parishes to consider the Livesimply Award, Season of Creation walks, litter picks and education events. Fr Dominic Robinson, the chair of Westminster Justice and Peace, talked of using Cafod’s Novena resource and encouraging Climate Masses. Climate Sunday is a new ecumenical initiative from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland asking local churches to hold a Climate Sunday mass or service at some point during the Season of Creation and commit to reducing carbon emissions. As a diocese, 85 percent of parishes are already on renewable energy. 

Birmingham Diocesan Assembly, from 28 Sept to 4 October, has taken the theme of the Climate Emergency. Live-streamed sessions will on Ecological Conversion, Climate Emergency, Local Government Responsibilities and an Evening Service of Prayer for the Feast of St Francis in the Spirit of Laudato Si’ led by Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham. The speaker at the first session is John Paul de Quay, of the Arundel and Brighton diocesan Ecological Conversion Group who runs the Journey to 2030 project promoting community environmental action.

Liverpool Archdiocese Justice and Peace Commission and CAFOD in Liverpool have provided a resource for Creation Time – downloadable and hard copy – with sessions containing issue information, Scripture readings, excerpts from Laudato Si’ and suggestions for action. Lancaster Faith and Justice Commission highlighted the key themes of the Season of Creation in its recent newsletter, urging parishes to celebrate it. The films Global Healing and Global Caring are free film-based resources endorsed by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for use in parishes.

Cafod has produced a number of resources, liturgy suggestions and action ideas that can be used at home, in parish groups and in schools.  A liturgy is available for 1 September, the international Day of Prayer for Care of Creation. The Columban Missionaries have produced a 7 Days of Creation, downloadable reflection for 1 September and a Catholic Season of Creation resource, exploring the Sunday scripture readings during September. Also, a series of podcasts, Jubilee for the Earth: Biodiversity and Our Sacred Story.’ Episode One, The Spirituality of Biodiversity, will be published on-line on 31 August, the day before the Season of Creation begins.

Pax Christi, Catholic People’s Weeks and the National Justice and Peace Network are among the Catholic organisations highlighting Care for Creation during recent zoom meetings. Liturgist Maty Haugen wrote a new chant For our Common Home dedicated to the Network. And, over the month, many in UK will be joining international seminars of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and Green Christian online workshops such as Justice, Jubilee and looking to COP 26 on 23 September. Christian Climate Action and other Faith groups are holding a socially-distanced and silent vigil in Parliament Square which will continue until Sunday 6 Sept. 

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