What is the Season of Creation?

Originally published on The Southern Cross

By Christina Bagaglio Slentz

The Season of Creation is the annual Christian celebration to pray and respond together to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, as Pope Francis calls us to do in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’.” This ecumenical celebration was first recognized in 1989 when Patriarch Dimitros I proclaimed Sept. 1 as the “Orthodox Day of Prayer for Creation.” Subsequently, the World Council of Churches extended the celebration to Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and in turn, Pope Francis made this season official for the Catholic Church in 2015 — the same year he published “Laudato Si’.”

This year, we unite around the theme “Let Justice and Peace Flow,” contemplating the words of the prophet Amos (5:24): “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.” Seeking environmental justice means working to restore creation and a return to a right relationship with our Creator. This includes ensuring fair access to the world’s resources, protecting creatures and habitats vital to a functioning, sustainable earth system for future generations, and spiritually honoring the gift of God’s creation with reverence and gratitude.

When Is the Season of Creation?
Today, the Church celebrates this season from Sept. 1, now the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, through Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis, our patron saint of ecology.

We invite all to join in our SD Catholic Creation Care Ministry events and take advantage of the “Laudato Si’” resources we have compiled. Key diocesan events include:

  • Youth & Young Adult Art Contest – now through Sept. 24 (submission deadline)
  • Creation Care Workshop, Mission San Luis Rey — Sept. 16
  • Friends of the Poor Walk (St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Francis of Assisi Parish) — Sept. 23
  • Season of Creation Mass (Cardinal Robert W. McElroy as celebrant) and reception at St. James Parish — Sept. 24
  • Feast of St. Francis Tree Festival at the diocesan Pastoral Center — Oct. 8

We encourage all parishes and schools to hold events of their own, as well. The first five parishes or schools that notify Creation Care Ministry of plans to host a screening of “The Letter,” a Vatican film about the concerns of “Laudato Si’,” will receive $100 toward movie snacks. Additional information on these events and more is available at sdcatholic.org/event/seasonofcreation23, or reach out to Christina Slentz, Creation Care Ministry director, at cslentz@sdcatholic.org.

How Can Your Family Celebrate This Season? 

  • Our Season of Creation Mass will feature a children’s procession at the end of our musical prelude. Please arrive by 11 a.m. to participate.
  • We encourage all children grades 4 to 12 to participate in our “For the Beauty of the Earth” art contest. Cash prizes will be awarded at the Feast of St. Francis Tree Festival.
  • Families might also try “Meatless Mondays” to curb their carbon footprint; recipes are available, courtesy of the Sisters of Mercy, at https://bit.ly/SOMMEATLESS.
  • Consider creating a Family “Laudato Si’” Action Plan. Learn more at laudatosiactionplatform.org.
  • Teach your children to love nature by getting outside together on the weekends. September is a beautiful month!