The Catholic Climate Covenant hopes to help Catholics around the world experience an ecological conversion this Season of Creation.
The U.S.-based organization has created “Finding God in the Wilderness,” a four-part prayer series to be used in conjunction with the readings from each Mass during the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home that ends 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
Paz Artaza-Regan, Program Manager for the Catholic Climate Covenant, said she hopes the prayer series helps people around the world deepen their connection with creation during the month-long celebration.
“We are looking at the Season of Creation as a pivotal moment, a time where Christians can focus on their spiritual life, connect it to their day-to-day activities and choices, and perhaps commit themselves to be better caretakers of God’s creation,” she said.
This is a vital time for our common home around the world, and that’s especially true in the U.S., where climate change has worsened wildfires in the western part of the country.
The recent fires have killed at least 27 people, destroyed towns, and made air quality in some parts among the worst in the world.
“We must be even more cognizant of the ecological crisis and the cry of the poor,” Artaza-Regan said.
Amidst everything going on in the world, she hopes the prayer series helps people center themselves and allows them to experience “contemplation, prayer, and discernment for action.”
“The weekly prayer series invites participants to reflect on the readings, then reflect on thanksgiving, illumination, examination, gratitude/contrition, and hope. Our goal is to move participants to ecological conversion,” she said.
In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls on all of us to undergo an “ecological conversion,” a phrase that Saint John Paul II first used during his 27-year papacy.
“What they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.” (LS 217)
Artaza-Regan also encouraged Catholics to adopt this practice of reflection into their weekly spiritual routine. “Ask themselves, ‘What do today’s readings say to us when we look at them through the lens of integral ecology? How can I respond to the readings? What action can I take as a response to the readings?’”
The prayer series can be used by individuals or small groups, including those connecting through video during the pandemic. “Finding God In The Wilderness” can be downloaded here.