The “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”: Pray. And Check your Toothpaste.

As we approach the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation this Tuesday, I hope all readers will join in its observance, in one way or another.  Yes, this is obviously a day of prayer as its name emphasizes. At the same time, this is also a day for committed action, as Pope Francis’s letter establishing this day on the Catholic calendar indicates: “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer 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.”

One way in which you can easily express your commitment to the care of creation is by checking the ingredients in your toothpaste: if microbeads are in your toothpaste, put it away and find one that does not contain such plastics (usually labeled as polyethylene or polypropylene). Microbeads, which are used as abrasives in a number of beauty products, attract toxic substances when they enter the waterways (and thereby the food chain!).  A huge amount of these microbeads have been found, for example in the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater eco-system on earth.  So, if your toothpaste contains these beads: “implore God’s pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”  Then go and change your toothpaste.


  1. Happy New Year!
    September 1, 2015
    Beginning of the Church year for Eastern Christian Churches
    7523 in Byzantine reckoning

    1. @John Kohanski:
      Yes, indeed! I note that the Estern Orghodox church has marked that day for years now as a day of prayer for creation. Pope Francis is following its lead here.

      1. @Teresa Berger: Maybe the Patriarch of Constantinople recommends this for his Church, but as far as I know, none of the other Orthodox or Oriental Churches observe this. There is not one Orthodox Church.

        In all honesty, why does there have to be an added ritual in church? A mention around the dinner table, after soccer practice and before homework would be sufficient. How many people avail themselves of daily Mass, and how many would come because September 1 has been designated as such by the Holy Father when they already don’t come on major feast days?

        I doubt that either the Patriarch or the Pope have any indication what life for a modern family in the developed West is actually like when thinking up this designation. Act and pray is good advice.

      2. @John Kohanski:
        “In all honesty, why does there have to be an added ritual in church?”

        No one said it was a must. Honestly though, don’t you have any imagination or love for the sensate or sense of joy in liturgy? I love it when they give out live branches (as on Assumption in Germany and Austria) or flowers (mothers day in the US) or carpet the streets with flowers for Corpus Christi in Spain, or do some other gesture flowing from the season, the earth, the harvest (Thanksgiving perhaps), in connection with liturgy. How do you think we got ashes and palms, or pussy willows in the east, centuries ago? How did we get the blessing of candles or the creche? Someone thought it up (in the latter instance, St. Francis). Anyway, these are beautiful, incarnational gestures. Popular piety should not be scorned when it enriches our worship.

  2. I also note Pope Francis’s Twitter message for today: “Act and Pray.”
    So do check that toothpaste, as well as all other beauty products that may contain microbeads.

  3. I regret the lateness of the announcement of this day, but applaud Pope Francis for asking Catholics to join in with the Orthodox on this commitment.

    There ought to be a ritual for church today, a plant giveaway or something… Any thoughts, Teresa?

    Also, does anyone know why September 1 was chosen? In a practical vein, it’s a tough time to organize things for families, as the school year is either just starting or not yet begun. There are some religion textbook series for children that have units of instruction every year on “Care for Creation.” It would be so perfect to link this day to what they are learning, but the timing pretty much knocks it out.

  4. It’s a time to give thanks for the bounties of the harvest. Get some peaches from a local grower and put them in a cobbler. Then sing “All Good Gifts ” in gratitude.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *