QUEZON City, Sept. 3, 2015 – In line with the celebration of the Season of Creation, the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in the Philippines has taken on the task of bringing Laudato si’ to its parishes in a bid to make the faithful aware of Pope Francis’ timely message on the environment.
“We encourage all our parish communities and all priests to integrate in their Sunday celebration an explanation of Laudato Si’ by relating its theme to the Sunday gospel,” said Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, minister provincial of the OFM-San Pedro Bautista Province, in a statement on the 1st World Day of Prayer for Creation.
Studying Laudato Si’
The priest further exhorted fellow Franciscans to undertake a careful study of Laudato Si’ and collectively discern plans on how to concretely address ecological issues local communities now face.
“We ask our local Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) desks to spearhead these activities,” he shared.
Almazan went on to invite Franciscan communities to come out with activities which will have the “Care of Creation” as the main theme.
Moreover, he expressed hope that the ongoing celebration will bring about authentic “ecological conversion” and that the example and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi will provide the faithful with an interior impulse which motivates, nourishes, and gives meaning to each individual and communal activity, inspiring all to live simply.
Recalling the apostolic trip in January, the priest said the historic encounter of Pope Francis, particularly with Yolanda survivors in Tacloban, echoes his compassionate concern to all those whose lives are exposed to the effects of climate change.
Day of prayer
“Typhoon Yolanda was recorded in our history as the strongest typhoon to ever hit land. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si is a beacon of hope in these time of crisis. We, Franciscans, embrace the challenge posed by the encyclical to heed both the ‘cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,’” he stressed, citing paragraph 49 of the papal document.
In union with members of the Orthodox Church, the Holy Father set Sept. 1 as a “day of prayer for the care of creation.”
Custodians of creation
“He wished that this day would offer all of us an “opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvelous works that He has entrusted to our care,” Almazan noted.
Sept. 1 also marks the start of the annual Season of Creation which will end on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of Ecology.
Prayer for Our Earth
Pope Francis’ “Prayer for Our Earth,” which was taken from Laudato Si’, reads as follows:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
(Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)