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2021-12-01 17:17
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Message for 2021 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Message for 2021 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

 

Let Us Praise, Pray and Act with Creation at Our Common Home!

 

The Catholic Church, since 2015, has annually celebrated the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1. The Orthodox Church has done it since 1989, and other Christian denominations in the World Council of Churches later have also participated. The Catholic Church established the Season of Creation, which runs from September 1 to October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. During this five week-long season, Catholics around the world pray for the care of creation, promote and practice actions that can be taken against the current climate crisis. In this way, the World Day for Prayer for the Care of Creation and the Season of Creation have given Christians a special opportunity to pray and act together in order to deal with our climate crisis.

During the Season of Creation, the Catholic Church in Korea especially puts effort into praying for the care of creation through Masses and Holy Hours at various levels of dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, and other faith communities. She also plays an important role in leading necessary actions promoting care for the earth. Today, we are witnessing how fast ecosystems have been still destroyed and how broken ecological equilibrium has caused all kinds of harmful consequences. Therefore, it is essential that the Christian faithful do their best to seek out practical ways to better care for creation; to remember that creation is a gift held in common; to reflect on how the relationship between creation and human beings is or is not consistent with the Lord’s will; and to undertake ‘ecological conversion.’ “Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God” (Enc. Laudato Sí, n.119).

The most urgent problem related to climate change is the need to make plans aimed at achieving CO2 neutrality over the coming decades. If the present levels of greenhouse gas emissions remain, it is obvious that we will face a growing number of natural disasters as a consequence of the climate crisis. In addition, such a crisis might well lead to a breakdown of civilization along with ecosystem destruction. For this reason, each country is announcing initiatives aimed at reaching CO2 neutrality by 2050. However, some experts estimated that climate change is inevitable unless carbon emissions are reduced by 2030, not by 2050. While striving to reduce energy consumption, we should keep developing new technologies for the production of renewable energy, and research approaches adopted in other countries.

The Earth, our common home, is suffering from emissions of not only greenhouse gases but also other pollutants. Humanity is an integral part of the equation, and the poor in particular is severely affected. Even though we have been warned, we are too slow in reducing waste. “Each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive” (Ibid, n.21). We have to be concerned about how to reduce daily waste such as non-biodegradable plastics accumulated under the ground. This is one of the easiest ways to participate in the work of protecting the Earth.

For future generations, we, above all things, should continue to make steady progress in reducing hazardous and harmful nuclear waste. As opposing the proposed dumping of treated radioactive water into the ocean from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan, we expressed our concerns about risks associated with the establishment of a large-scale nuclear plant on the Chinese coast, facing our western coast. Our domestic production of radioactive waste should also be taken seriously. We cannot deprive future generations of their right to live in a clean and safe environment. If we are not to infringe the rights of future generations, we should no longer generate high-level radioactive waste, which presents problems for countless future generations. We must act on the basis of “an awareness of our common origin, of our mutual belonging, and of a future to be shared with everyone” (Ibid, n.202).

Pope Francis hopes that the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation “will become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles” (Letter for the Establishment of the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”, August 6, 2015). Above all else, Christians in this era should pray for the care of creation, asking God for mercy: “Turning to this bountiful and merciful Father who awaits the return of each of his children, we can acknowledge our sins against creation, the poor and future generations” (Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 2016).

It has been six years since the establishment of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Accordingly, I would like to sincerely ask all dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, and other faith communities to pray and take concrete and enthusiastic action for the care of creation. We, Christians, are called to be people who perceive and act in communion with God. We are asked to undertake prophetic activities because it is urgent to intervene without delay (Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, 2019). Let us praise, pray and act along with creation!

 

September 1, 2021

The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

 

+ Abbot Blasio Park Hyun-dong

President

CBCK Committee

for Ecology & Environment