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By: Kristen Whitney Daniels

Beginning on Sept. 1, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ending on the Feast of St. Francis Oct. 4, Christians around the world will be joining together for the "Season of Creation." This global, ecumenical event occurs yearly as an invitation for Christians to "unite to pray and care for creation." This year's theme is "walking together" — chosen to reflect how Jesus' walk in Jerusalem "invited us to encounter God through God's presence in creation," according to the Season of Creation website.

This is the 29th year for the annual "celebration of prayer and action to protect creation." It originally started after Ecumenical Orthodox Church Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed Sept. 1 as a day of prayer for creation. The Catholic Church officially joined in when Pope Francis named Sept. 1 as the  "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" in the Catholic Church in 2015.

In Pope Francis' statement he said that the day "offer[s] individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live."

Pope Francis also mentioned the ecumenical significance of the day in his statement.

"The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches," Pope Francis wrote.

For people looking to get involved during the Season of Creation, there are a variety of events happening throughout the world.

The Season of Creation website has a listing of "prayer services, sustainability actions, and advocacy campaigns" that Christians across the world are hosting. They also have a variety of resources available for help people incorporate the prayers into their daily lives and communities.

In honor of Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis — and the final day of the Season of Creation — the Catholic Climate Covenant is releasing a free educational program. This year Catholic Climate Covenant has produced a 90-minute educational program titled "Who is My Neighbor in a Climate-Threatened World?" and will focus "on the interconnections between immigration, refugees, and climate change," according to their website.

The International Union Superiors General (UISG) is also celebrating the Season of Creation. As part of their "Campaign Sowing Hope for the Planet" — a resource for congregations to actively live out Laudato Si' — UISG has created resources to help communities celebrate.

There is also a variety of other events occurring in the next month to help people live out the Season of Creation message. On Sept. 8 The Peoples Climate Movement will be hosting their national Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice. The event will occur the weekend before San Francisco's Global Climate Action Summit, and will feature demonstrations, community forums, and educational events. You can also livestream the Global Climate Action Summit's faith communities service the following week.

The Season of Creation comes as the Federation, in conjunction with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), released a statement opposing the Trump Administration's Affordable Clean Energy Rule. The Federation has released action items as a way for individuals and congregations to turn the statement into action.

First the Federation is encouraging everyone to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the rule. On the EPA website individuals can tell the agency and the government that "each of us is called to cooperate with God to protect our common home and to care for all of God's creation," as Pope Francis writes in Laudato Si'.

The Federation is also encouraging people to read Laudato Si' and contemplate how personal lifestyles can impact carbon emissions. People can evaluate their own carbon footprint with the carbon footprint calculator, which also helps identify areas people can change to make an impact.

Concerned individuals can also consider sending letters to the editors of their local, diocesan, state, and national papers. A sample letter to the editor is included below to get people started:

Sample Letter to the Editor:

"Everything is connected," Pope Francis reminds us.

As a Sister of St. Joseph, I believe that climate is a common good and each of us is called to cooperate with God to protect our common home. I am deeply troubled by the release of the Trump Administration's proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule, which would significantly weaken the Clean Power Plan. The CPP seeks to speed the closure of coal-burning plants and the conversion to clean energy in order to reduce carbon pollution. In effect, this plan protects the health and welfare of all people.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule is a rule we cannot afford. I will be voicing my concerns to the Environmental Protection Agency during its comment period (visit www.epa.gov), and I encourage all people of good will to join me in opposing this threat to the health and safety of our neighbors, our Mother Earth, and our connection to her and one another. 

[Kristen Whitney Daniels is the assistant director of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph]