Published in The Criterion on August 28, 2020.
On May 25, during the weeklong commemoration of the five-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced a special “Laudato Si’ ” anniversary year, calling on it to be “a time of grace, a true Kairos experience and a Jubilee time for the Earth, for humanity, and for all God’s creatures.”
One event during this anniversary year is the enhanced emphasis on the ecumenical Season of Creation, an annual time to renew our relationship with each other and with all of creation.
The Season of Creation begins on Sept. 1 with the Day of Prayer for Creation and runs through the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4. This year’s theme is “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.”
The Dicastery stressed that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, “the Season of Creation is especially relevant this year,” and is encouraging Catholics across the world to take part in a renewed way to reflect, pray and take action.
The Dicastery has highlighted seven areas of focus, called the “Laudato Si’ ” goals: response to the cry of the Earth, response to the cry of the poor, ecological economics, adoption of simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality and emphasis on community.
Using these goals, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Creation Care Commission has prepared a guide (also available in Spanish) to assist each of us as we renew our efforts in “cooperating as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents” (“Laudato Si,’ ” #14).
The commission is also distributing high quality native trees from the Indiana nursery Woody Warehouse for fall tree planting during the Season of Creation. With financial support through a grant from the Catholic Climate Covenant, people throughout the archdiocese may receive trees and/or wildflower seeds by contributing a small donation toward the commission’s efforts.
Opportunities to pray together during the Season of Creation are also available. On Sept. 1, Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis, 7243 E. 10th St., will host a prayer service at 7 p.m. All are welcome. Appropriate social distancing and masks are required. For more information, call 317-353-9404.
At 5:15 p.m. on Sept. 17, the Feast of St. Hildegard of Bingen, the Benedictine Sisters of Our Lady of Grace Monastery invite guests to participate virtually by connecting to the community’s Facebook page: Sisters of St. Benedict—Our Lady of Grace.
Information on all of these activities can be found on www.ourcommonhome.org/season-of-creation.
In a few days, the Season of Creation will begin. As Pope Francis has stated, “This is the season for letting our prayer life be inspired anew … to reflect on our lifestyles, to undertake prophetic acts of creation. It is a time to call for courageous decisions and direct the planet toward life, not death.”
The commission urges you to join us in making the 2020 Season of Creation a true jubilee.
Benedictine Sister Sheila Marie Fitzpatrick is director of Facilities at the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center in Beech Grove and a member of the archdiocese’s Creation Care Commission.