Christians from different denominations will take part in a pilgrimage from Assisi to the COP24 UN climate change conference in Poland, after a two-day ecumenical prayer event. The Season of Creation began as an initiative from the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios in 1989. It has since been endorsed and recommended to the Anglican Communion by the Anglican Consultative Council; and by Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church. It runs from the World Day of Prayer for Creation on 1 September to the feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4 October.
For the past few years, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network as teamed up with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and other agencies to provide a range of resources to help Christians around the world make the most of the season. This year’s theme, “Walking Together” has inspired the first Ecumenical Care for Creation event in the Italian town of Assisi. On the afternoon of Friday 31 August, Christians will gather in Assisi’s Vescovado Plaza, where Saint Francis publicly renounced his father’s wealth, for the start of two-days of prayer. Between 5 pm on 31 August and 11 am on Saturday 1 September, prayer will take place there, at the Room of Reunification, the Chapel of Saint Damian in the Basilica of Saint Clare, and at the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
In a message inviting churches to participate in this year’s Season of Creation, organisers said: “As the environmental crisis deepens, we Christians are urgently called to witness to our faith by taking bold action to preserve the gift we share.
“During the Season of Creation, we ask ourselves: Do our actions honour the Lord as Creator? Are there ways to deepen our faith by protecting ‘the least of these’, who are most vulnerable to the consequences of environmental degradation?
“During this season, we walk together towards greater stewardship of our place in creation.”
At the conclusion of the events in Assisi, a group of pilgrims will begin a pilgrimage to Katowice, the venue for this year’s annual UN consultation on climate change, COP24. They will set off from St Francis’ Basilica at 11 am on 1 September and walk to Gubbio on the first leg of “The Path of Francis” pilgrimage.
Organisers describe the COP24 meeting as “a crucial international event for the real implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
Amongst those taking part in the two-day event in Assisi are Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome; and Elizabeth Bussmann, environmental officer for the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe.
- Click here to access a range of resources for the Season of Creation collated by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.