Season of Creation: Be aware, pray and take action, South African Bishop urges the faithful.

The Church in South Africa is encouraging the faithful to embrace this year’s Season of Creation initiatives.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.

What is the Season of Creation?

Season of Creation has been described as a time of grace that the Church, in ecumenical dialogue, offers to humanity to renew its relationship with the Creator and with creation through celebration, conversion and commitment together.

The initiative is characterised by prayers, events, reflections and activities. Each year,  since 1989, Christian leaders worldwide encourage the faithful to participate in the Season of Creation.

The Season of Creation starts on 1 September, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ends on 4 October, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

Bishop of Bethlehem’s pastoral letter

South Africa’s Bishop of Bethlehem Diocese, Jan de Groef, M. Afr., has urged the faithful in his diocese and in South Africa generally to take an interest in ecological issues. The Bishop made the observation in a pastoral letter he released this week. He said there is a “living connection between environmental well-being and the Gospel.”

“Perhaps some of you may wonder: why does the Bishop write a pastoral letter on the safeguarding of creation? Are there no more important issues to address? It may sound as something new to many of us, but the present reality, many people and particularly the poor experience, is caused, to a great extent, by climate change: multiple flooding in one part of the globe or within a country and excessive heat and drought resulting in wildfires in other parts. The present covid19 pandemic has aggravated the calamity. Pope Francis in his Encyclical ‘Laudato Sì’ points to a living connection between environmental well-being and the Gospel,” reads Bishop de Groef’s pastoral letter.

Pray and take action for our common home

Bishop Groef is encouraging the faithful to be informed and to participate in awareness creation events.

“How can we respond? Surely the first thing is to become aware of the situation of the ecological and social degradation we are experiencing. But it should not end up there. We have to act. The theme of this month of creation expresses it very well ‘Pray and take action for our common home.’ We must find ways in which dioceses, parishes, blocs of youth groups, Sodalities and families can be actively involved in assuming shared moral responsibility for our common home and the common good. Perhaps we are tempted to respond that the problem is far too big to tackle and that it is better to leave it to the government and to big organisations who are meeting in Glasgow later this year (from 31 October till 12 November) to talk about climate issues. No, the little we do, even on a local level, is important and can cause a chain reaction like throwing a pebble in a pool. Let’s start with keeping our environment clean. Let’s be careful with the use of water and electricity,” said the South African prelate.