Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued a joint statement calling on all people to pray for the protection and responsible use of creation and calling on all social, economic, political and cultural leaders to “heart the cry of the earth,” and take action to protect creation and the environment and to take action to heal our “wounded creation.
“We are convinced,” the pope and patriarch write, “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.”
The statement represents the latest of joint statements made by Francis and Bartholomew, signifying again their close relationship and hopes for greater unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox Churches have set aside a day each year as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation since 1989. In 2015, when Pope Francis promulgated his encyclical on the care of creation, Laudato si, it was recommended by Metropolitan John Zizioulas, Patriarch Bartholomew’s personal envoy, that every Christian church set aside such a day. Pope Francis latched on to the idea and has set aside the same day each year for Catholics to pray for the care of creation as that set aside by the Orthodox.
If you missed the opportunity to answer the call to prayer for creation yesterday, September 1st, don’t fret. Today is the day of salvation, as St. Paul says. Every day may be set aside to pray for all concerns, and concern for the well-being of creation is one that will be with us until Jesus returns. So, pray today, tomorrow, and each day.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.