Capuchin Brother Benedict Ayodi, Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Africa Program Manager, helps lead a recent reforestation activity at the Kakamega Forest in Kenya.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed how some communities can celebrate the ecumenical Season of Creation.

But despite the challenges that can come with organizing remotely and through video conferencing, thousands of communities across the globe have come together for the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home, which concludes on 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.

In the U.S., as wildfires have left families to mourn lost loved ones, destroyed towns, and worsened air quality across the country, Christians in Chicago still united for an ecumenical prayer service that reflected on this year’s theme of a “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.”

“Oh God . . . we have forgotten the call of love to give Sabbath rest to the land from which we are born . . . Forgive us for neglecting the common good,” said The Reverend Nadia Stefko.

Watch the entire prayer service below

On the other side of the world, in South Africa, young Christians in Cape Town called on people everywhere to use this month for action. Among their life-giving suggestions: turn trash into treasure, pick up litter, or create a vegetable garden.

“We have recognized through this global pandemic that we need to create a period of rest for the Earth and thus, transform our way of living and being,” said Dominique Yon. “We want to see a world that is beautiful for all its inhabitants.”

Watch the entire prayer service below

About 300 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, in Kakamega, Kenya, Global Catholic Climate Movement Africa was able to host an in-person event that kicked off the reforestation of the Kakamega Forest.

GCCM Africa led an ecumenical prayer service and was joined by Anglicans, communities that live near the forest, and government officials.

A child participates in the reforestation effort during the Season of Creation. Photo by Br. Benedict Ayodi.

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After the prayer service, more than 300 trees were planted in the forest where trees had been cut and the forest left bare.

“The tree-planting event at the Kakamega Forest was a great blessing to the locals living around the forest,” said Capuchin Brother Benedict Ayodi, Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Africa Program Manager.

“The locals said, ‘Miti inaleta mvua, na mvua ni baraka,’ which means, “Trees bring rain, and rain is a blessing.’”

The dozens of participants celebrated the occasion by performing the traditional Isukuti dance that is practiced among the Luhya community of western Kenya.

Watch the celebration below