The Season of Creation Celebration Is September 1 Through October 4

Catholic schools take time to reflect on the environment and ecology.

Arlington, VA – The National Catholic Educational Association, (NCEA) invites Catholic schools to celebrate the Season of Creation, September 1 through October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology. Commit to live out Laudato Si' at your school. The theme for 2020 is the "Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope."

The Season of Creation is a time to reflect on our relationship with the environment and the ways society endangers the natural world and all those who inhabit it. The month-long observance includes prayer and practical action such as cleaning up your local environment, promoting recycling and lobbying governments for action to mitigate climate change.

In 1989, Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed September 1 a Day of Prayer for the environment, inviting Christians from around the world to celebrate creation. Over time, the Day of Prayer became a season championed by the ecumenical World Council of Churches with organized celebrations forming around the world. In 2003, the Catholic Church in the Philippines asked its congregants to observe Creation Time and more Catholic communities began to mark the 34 days as a way to bring attention to the environment and the need to care for the earth.

In 2015, just after Pope Francis published his encyclical, "Laudato Si'," on Care for Our Common Home, he added the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to the Catholic calendar. Then last year, he officially invited all Catholics to celebrate the Season of Creation. "We have forgotten who we are: creatures made in the image of God, called to dwell as brothers and sisters in a common home," Pope Francis said. "Now is the time to rediscover our vocation as children of God, brothers and sisters, and stewards of creation."

Some Catholic schools and parishes recognize the Season of Creation with prayer services and liturgies that reflect on the sacredness of creation. Others celebrate Green Masses, like the Blue Masses for first responders, but for those working for the environment and ecology. Some parishes uphold traditional Feast of St. Francis celebrations with the blessing of animals. Other ideas to celebrate include: planting trees and flowers; starting a Monarch butterfly garden; gathering signatures for climate petitions; writing lawmakers to push for federal environmental legislation; reminding classes and school offices of recycling guidelines; using the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) parish bulletin inserts with prayers for the season.

For more information about the Season of Creation and ways to observe it, visit:
seasonofcreation.org (includes a downloadable events guide)
catholicclimatecovenant.org/program/feast-st-francis
eco-catholic.com
usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/index.cfm
catholicclimatecovenant.org

Visit www.NCEA.org and connect with NCEA on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.