April 17, 2017
By Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ
Forty-seven years ago (1970), the deteriorating condition of Mother Earth led to Earth Day in her honor. Begun as a secular observation, faith communities now join on this day to celebrate God’s lavish gifts and to remind us to care for them. Pope Francis’ many documents on care of creation remind us that a deeper connection with creation can draw one closer to the Creator and provide motivation for celebrating Earth Day and acting on behalf of our common home.
Beginning: “Canticle of the Sun” (The Heavens Are Telling) Marty Haugen: YouTube, by Michelle Sherliza [3:31) or sing without video.
Leader: Loving and gracious Giver of All Life, we join to honor your presence living and acting in us and in our world, your entire creation, and to rejoice in your divine presence.
All: The Universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor man’s face. (Laudato Si’ par. 223)
Leader: Let us pray (Pope Francis’ Prayer for Our Earth (from Laudato Si’):
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.
(Leader) Pause to reflect on the divine presence and love in the whole universe. 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.
(Leader) Pause to reflect on our relationship and interconnections with all that exists.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
(Leader) Pause to reflect on the suffering people, flora and fauna on our planet. 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.
(Leader) Pause to reflect on ways me might unconsciously contribute to pollution or neglect to contribute to beauty. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
(Leader) Pause to reflect on how we have kept those hearts in our prayer and ways we have urged them to change. 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 toward your infinite light.
(Leader) Pause to contemplate our relationship with every creature. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
(Leader) Pause to express silently your own gratitude and petition.
All: Amen. Amen. Amen.
If time and circumstances permit, share either of these: I feel …. I hope ….
Take action, alone or as a group. Catholic Climate Covenant reminds us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for Christ. Every action — whether lowering electricity consumption or reducing vehicle emissions or diminishing use of plastic or eating food grown responsibly — every action matters and helps those living in poverty on our interconnected planet. This Earth Day, CCC specifically asks us to contact our legislators to request their support for the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus. Click here for a sample letter and assistance in finding your member of Congress: SEND LETTER. To make the letter more effective, put parts in your own words.
Closing: “Canticle of the Sun” (The Heavens Are Telling) Marty Haugen: YouTube, by Michelle Sherliza [3:31) or sing without video.