In a few days, we will be celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and the end of the 2019 Season of Creation. The Season of Creation is a new Liturgical Season for the global Catholic Community under the leadership of Pope Francis. It extends annually from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to the Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Dimitri declared September 1 as the World Day of Creation in 1989. In 2007, the Third European Ecumenical Assembly adopted this day to celebrate creation. The following year the world Council of Churches called for the observation for the Season of Creation. This was embraced by Pope Frances in 2015. It is now celebrated by a number of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches as an addition to the ordinary time of the lectionary schedule which begins after Pentecost and ends with Advent. During this 30-year ecumenical/orthodox history, the idea of extending the liturgical season to October 4 gradually emerged.
The Season focuses on God as Creator of the vast cosmic universe, God’s revelation in Creation and our response to our responsibility to care for God’s creation. It addresses the urgent need to protect creation’s rich diversity. The liturgical theme for 2019 has been The Web of Life: Biodiversity as God’s Blessing. Pope Francis has frequently warned against the technocratic mentality that approaches creation as simply resources to be used to meet human needs and desires. Without humility before nature, people have too often been inadequately aware of or sensitive to the complex interconnections that make up the Web of Life. We, on the Eco-Justice Committee, became aware of this new liturgical season just recently and will be looking forward to participating more fully in the Season of Creation in 2020.
As we enter the autumn season, take a look around and appreciate the spiritual blessings that come from God’s generous creation.