APPEAL FOR A MEANINGFUL SEASON OF CREATION 2020:
JUBILEE FOR THE EARTH
Your Eminence, Beatitude, Grace and Excellency,
Esteemed Heads of religious Congregations,
Esteemed Teachers and those responsible for Educational institutions
Greetings of peace, solidarity and hope!
These are trying times and we yearn for remission.The COVID-19 pandemic is currently
affecting Asia and the rest of the world: joint efforts suggest that it will be overcome in a
few years. But in the long term, the greatest challenge facing humankind in the 21st
century is human-made climate change and the associated ecological crisis. The well-
being of many future generations in Asia and worldwide depends on coping with them.
This year, the Catholic Church fully participates in the ecumenical Season of Creation,
following the invitation by Pope Francis. This special season, which the Holy Father
describes as a “season of increased prayer and effort on behalf of our common home”,
begins on 1st September, the Word Day of Prayer for the Care for Creation and ends on
4th October, the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi. The theme for 2020 is Jubilee for the
Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope. We in Asia hope to witness the Spirit renewing the
face of earth as we consider the integral relationship between rest for the earth and our
ways of living – ecological, economic, social and political. Through action in our
families, parishes, schools, youth organisations, dioceses that is rooted in prayer, we
seek to heal and renew our relationship with our common home.
We find inspiration in the Laudato Si’ encyclical’s call to undergo an “ecological
conversion” and in the Word of God – Leviticus 25: 10-12 tells us that the Jubilee Year is
a time of reprieve; its more familiar aspects being the setting free of slaves, the settling of
debts and the restoration of property and ownership rights. Of note however, is that the
Jubilee Year stipulated a time of rest for the land i.e. the earth, during which no sowing
or reaping would take place. The land would have to lie fallow every fiftieth year, in
addition to the Sabbath Year that took place every seventh year. The proclamation of the
Jubilee Year by Yahweh highlights the intimate connection between the earth and its
inhabitants, an intertwining that has been present since the time of creation.
Over the centuries, the Catholic Church has celebrated Jubilee Years as a time of
conversion and finding new ways for personal and social lifestylesand for the receipt of
graces. The former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, The Very Reverend Adolfo
Nicolás SJ, aptly explained that the Jubilee is a blessed time to be grateful for – and since
not everyone is blessed in the same measure, this blessing ought to be passed on to the
earth, the poor, and to others. We may have overlooked our connection with our
common home over the last decades. Certainly, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic has
us focused, and rightly so, on the cry of the poor. Yet, in harkening to the marginalised
and the less fortunate, we cannot neglect that this very cry of the poor is the cry of the
earth too, as Pope Francis has made explicit in Laudato Si’ (49).
I therefore appeal to all the Bishops, religious, priests, those responsible for educational
institutions, and families of Asia to make the Season of Creation meaningful in your
own dioceses, Congregations, schools, parishes or homes, and invite other groups to
participate as well. The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences is offering various
suggestions and resources for 2020. These can be availed from the Season of Creation
website: https://seasonofcreation.org. We hope that soon we may have another link as
well prepared by the Office of Human Development of the Federation of Asian Bishops’
Conferences and the Commission for Ecology of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of
It is hoped that these suggestions serve as springboard in deepening our care for
creation, and give the earth a reprieve from the onslaught of exploitation.
With my blessing and the affirmation of the availability of the Federation of Asian
Bishops’ Conferences during this Season of Creation.
Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, SDB
Archbishop of Yangon
President, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences
22 August 2020