Pope’s other legacy in creation day
IT IS most likely that the article “Manila High Mass to open Season of Creation on Sept. 1” (Lifestyle, 8/30/15) did not surprise many. After all, the initiative is a concrete response to the challenge Pope Francis raised in his encyclical “Laudato Si,” which is a call to action for the defense of the environment. Last Aug. 6, when Pope Francis announced Sept. 1 to be a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, he said he wanted it to be “our contribution toward overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through …”
The Archdiocese of Manila responded promptly with a “High Mass” on Sept. 1 and with ecology-related activities, especially involving the young since it is they who will benefit in the long run from the efforts of our leaders today to solve the ecological crisis. There is no doubt that other ecclesiastical entities not just in this country, but also in most of the Christian and Catholic world, have responded to the Holy Father’s initiative. Even if some might not have been able to organize their activities on time, the “season” to respond to the Pope’s call had Sept. 1 only as the opening event. The Season of Creation will end on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, whom St. John Paul II proclaimed “Patron of Ecology” in 1979.
What might have escaped the attention of many is that Pope Francis openly acknowledged that this event has been observed by the Orthodox Church for some time; so his gesture is one of collaboration in the good being done by another Christian church.
Thus, he is giving the strong signal and example that it is not just the Christian churches that can join forces in championing this cause; he has also shown the possibility of non-Christian faiths coming together with us on common concerns. After all, in this cause, two elements common to all are involved: the care for creation, and prayer. This is another powerful and practical legacy of Francis’pontificate.
—ANTONIO MARIA ROSALES, OFM, firstname.lastname@example.org