The 43rd Annual Earth Day will be celebrated this April 22nd. It began in 1970 with US Senator Gaylord Nelson who began a teach-in about environmental concerns, which has now grown to a movement with 193 participating countries. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day. Our new Pope Francis shares concerns for the new environment much like Saint Francis of Assisi and the Earth Day Movement.
“So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.
Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! May the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.”
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS
EASTER 2013, Easter Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Catholic Climate Covenant has put together a great website with resources and information about care for God’s creation. Consider taking the St. Francis Pledge – The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change.
American Catholic offers a great Earth Day feature website with e-cards, stories about St. Francis and his work to care for creation.
My parish has recently started a community garden that has helped feed local families in need. Many times there is an overabundance of vegetables that is quickly shared with the rest of the parish. It has been a wonderful exercise in ecology and faith that I urge you to explore in your community. My friend Sarah Reinhard also recommends a book called A Garden of Visible Prayer, and Sarah writes, This book is an opportunity for anyone who takes solace in the outdoors, who longs for dirt therapy, who finds peace in both the doing and the being of gardening. It is a book for those of us who like the work of gardening and seek a refuge outside in nature. It’s a handbook for making your prayer something you can see in the place and plants and setting of a garden area.
Here is a great Ted Talk about a man making a difference with urban gardening in Los Angeles (warning–some expletives):
Canticle of the Creatures
All praise be yours, My Lord,
through all that you have made.
And first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day….
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air….
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night….
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us…and produces various fruits
With colored flowers and herbs….
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.
by St. Francis of Assisi
Great Earth Day Video: Everything is Holy Now by Abbey of the Arts