World Day of Prayer for Creation

September 1: World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis recently declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, as the Orthodox Church has done since 1989. You can read the full letter below.

According to Pope Francis, “The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Joint Message of Pope Francis & Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the World Day of Prayer for Creation

World Day of Creation

The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation.

However, “in the meantime”, the history of the world presents a very different context. It reveals a morally decaying scenario where our attitude and behaviour towards creation obscures our calling as God’s co-operators. Our propensity to interrupt the world’s delicate and balanced ecosystems, our insatiable desire to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and our greed for limitless profit in markets – all these have alienated us from the original purpose of creation. We no longer respect nature as a shared gift; instead, we regard it as a private possession. We no longer associate with nature in order to sustain it; instead, we lord over it to support our own constructs.

The consequences of this alternative worldview are tragic and lasting. The human environment and the natural environment are deteriorating together, and this deterioration of the planet weighs upon the most vulnerable of its people. The impact of climate change affects, first and foremost, those who live in poverty in every corner of the globe. Our obligation to use the earth’s goods responsibly implies the recognition of and respect for all people and all living creatures. The urgent call and challenge to care for creation are an invitation for all of humanity to work towards sustainable and integral development.

Therefore, united by the same concern for God’s creation and acknowledging the earth as a shared good, we fervently invite all people of goodwill to dedicate a time of prayer for the environment on 1 September. On this occasion, we wish to offer thanks to the loving Creator for the noble gift of creation and to pledge commitment to its care and preservation for the sake of future generations. After all, we know that we labour in vain if the Lord is not by our side (cf. Ps 126-127), if prayer is not at the centre of our reflection and celebration. Indeed, an objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world. The goal of our promise is to be courageous in embracing greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives.

We urgently appeal to those in positions of social and economic, as well as political and cultural, responsibility to hear the cry of the earth and to attend to the needs of the marginalised, but above all to respond to the plea of millions and support the consensus of the world for the healing of our wounded creation. We are convinced that there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, unless we give priority to solidarity and service.

From the Vatican and from the Phanar, 1 September 2017

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew



Join Pope Francis in this special day and invite friends and family: JOIN IN PRAYER

Begin your day by praying with one of the prayers that Pope Francis composed for his Laudato Si’ encyclical: A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation or A Prayer for our Earth.
Continue to pray throughout the day: could be a Guided Rosary on Caring for Creation, the Canticle of Creatures of St Francis, or any other creation care prayer.
Attend a special service in your parish and/or ask the parish to celebrate the World Day of Prayer.

Host an Eucharistic Adoration service: use this official prayer resource from the Vatican.
Incorporate creation prayers during your daily mass: you could simply pray the Christian Prayer in Union with Creation and include special Prayers of the Faithful (check our Resources page).
Host an ecumenical event, however big or small: Pope Francis invited ecumenical collaboration on September 1 so that “this World Day can become the sign of a path along all believers in Christ walk together.” You can utilize this Ecumenical Celebration guide from the Franciscans for Ecology, or this Ecumenical Celebration guide from the Columbans.

Utilize this guided prayer resource developed by Fr. Terrence J. Moran.

Complement your prayers with climate action: SIGN THE LAUDATO SI PLEDGE.

September 1 also opens the Season of Creation, which lasts till October 4 (Feast of St Francis).