Call to a “Profound Spiritual Conversion”

Jerry Pope Francis has designated September 1st as a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Many faith communities, not just Catholics, will be  praying. Some will devote a worship service near that date to the Pope’s climate change message.

The climate crisis, according to Pope Francis, is a call “to a profound spiritual conversion.” He hopes September 1st will be a time to reaffirm our “personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork ….. entrusted to our care”, to implore God’s help for “the protection of creation” and seek pardon “for the sins committed against the world in which we live”. 

Mindful of Hurricane Katrina’s 10th anniversary (August 29), I hope we will also pray for justice on behalf of the poor and people of color, who usually bear the brunt of climate disruptions. Lack of resources coupled with institutional racism often confines people to living in places most vulnerable to extreme weather while also limiting the available options for moving out of harm’s way.

Let’s also pray for the members of Congress, who on September 24th will hear the Pope urging them to act quickly and decisively on climate change. While a “profound spiritual conversion” on Capitol Hill may be too much to expect, perhaps many in Congress will recognize that delaying  action on climate is immoral and carries a  hefty price tag.

There is a growing sense of urgency building in faith communities across the US and worldwide. The night before the Pope’s congressional address, the Franciscan Action Network will lead an all-night, multi-faith vigil at the Lincoln Memorial to demonstrate that prayer is just the starting point in this movement.

I will be praying on September 1st and also plan to attend the September 23rd vigil. Please respond to Pope Francis’ call in whatever way most authentically expresses your solidarity to this cause..

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