Article written by Iseult Hayden and Marilyn Grace on behalf of EcoAnselm
EcoAnselm is a fourteen-member ministry of ecology within St. Anselm’s Roman Catholic Church in Toronto.
This past October, following the Season of Creation, EcoAnselm hosted our first “All-Ministry Eco-Evening: Dialogue on Caring for Creation”. In response to the urgent appeal of Pope Francis, representatives from each area of ministry at St. Anselm’s joined in dialogue about how we, as a parish community, can proactively participate in shaping the future of our planet.
“God lights up stars to help us keep walking... Christ himself is our great light of hope and our guide in the night, for he is the “bright morning star” (Rev 22:16).” Pope Francis.
Advent is a time of longing for God, a journey seeking transformation in our hearts and our world so that Christ’s light will shine more clearly. One of the transformations needed is found in Pope Francis’ prayer intention for the month of December, calling us to pray “that every country decides to take necessary measures to make the future of children a priority, especially the future of children who are suffering today”. He highlights that in every child who is marginalized, abandoned, without medical care… “is Christ, who came to our world as a defenseless child”.
The future of children, especially those suffering today, has yet to be prioritized by countries’ actions on climate change.
This past fall, during the Season of Creation, Holy Name started a Climate Action Group, where parishioners are able to discuss individual and collective action we can take to protect and care for the environment.
One of the first initiatives that came out of these conversations was the "Green Christmas" poster.
Season of Creation begins with a powerful message from Pope Francis.
"May we feel challenged to assume, with prayer and commitment, our responsibility for the care of creation. May God, “the lover of life” (Wis 11:26), grant us the courage to do good without waiting for someone else to begin, or until it is too late."
Pope Francis, Sept. 1, 2019
Check out many recently listed Toronto events inviting your participation in this Season of Creation.
Vatican and Ecumenical Faith leaders support the Season of Creation
This year for the first time, the Vaticancalled on Church leadersto participate in the Season of Creation. They included aninvitation to communitieshighlighting the Season of Creation, the Synod on the Amazon and resources available to implement Laudato Si’ and help “protect every creature in God’s beautifully complex web of creation”.
Christian faith leaders have signed a letter in support of the Season of Creation, calling for prayer and action to protect the web of life. This is an excerpt from the letter:
“Every species, indeed every being of every species, is precious because it is made by God. All reflect an aspect of God. “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)
Photo credit: USFWS Midwest Region from United States [CC BY 2.0]
This summer, Care for our Common Home focuses on the ecumenical Season of Creation and its 2019 theme of protecting God’s web of life. The Season of Creation runs from September 1st to October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and invites Christians around the world to pray and care for creation. Resources are suggested to help with planning a Season of Creation event. They can be adapted for other times as well.
Resources to help plan a parish event on protecting biodiversity
Earth Day falls on Easter Monday this year so consider instead planning an event sometime during the Easter Season. Divine Mercy Sunday on April 28th can be a meaningful day for hosting an event in response to Pope Francis’ call that “the works of mercy also include care for our common home”. The following resources can help with planning an event and can be adapted for use at any time that fits best with the parish.
Spring is here although warm days are still reluctant visitors. Every week more old friends appear and bring anticipation of who is going to show up next—crocuses and robins have arrived, how much longer until tulips and rhubarb? This season of new life as Easter approaches makes it easy to appreciate Pope Francis’ call “to recognize that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes: “by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory”” (#69)
Human activity is diminishing this blessing. Around the world these other living beings are shrinking in number or disappearing at an alarming rate. This is linked to human activity—we have not learned how to share our common home with our family of fellow living creatures.
We live as though we have forgotten that we are part of an amazingly diverse and complex web of life. Each creature contributes some role towards its ecosystem’s ability to provide the services which sustain all life, such as producing food, oxygen and clean water. The well-being of this web of life, which includes us, depends on the well-being of its biodiversity or variety of living species. Scientists, environmentalists, the Catholic Church and others are all raising awareness about the growing threats to biodiversity.
Ecological Conversion in Action: Manifesto of Youth at World Youth Day 2019 for the Care of the Common Home
Catholic youth meeting in January in Panama City, Panama, for World Youth Day, produced a manifesto, and launched the “Laudato Si’ Generation”, a new network of young Catholics committed to care for our common home.
“We, young Catholics from World Youth Day in Panama, would like to raise our hearts and minds in praise, joy and gratitude for the beautiful gift of our beloved “sister Mother Earth” in the lovely words of St Francis. At the same time we are painfully aware, as Pope Francis reminded us, that “our common home is falling into serious disrepair” (Laudato Si’61). Convinced that “all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation” (LS 14), we call on everyone, ourselves first, to act with urgency to protect our planet and the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
Lorene DiCorpo recalls growing up in Sudbury many decades ago, and how, daily, she could smell and taste the sulphur dioxide in the air emitted by the neighboring mining company, Inco Nickel. On cloudy days the sky would be tinged with yellow. It was well known that miners developed emphysema and asthma and that the land had been reduced to non-fertile clay. “As a child, I thought this was just the way things were,” she says.