This post is a follow-up to my earlier post on the Season of Creation.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate the Season of Creation in our liturgies is by naming our prayers for creation and aspirations to care for creation in the Prayer of the Faithful.
Here are a few samples of what is available on line, with links so that you may explore these resources further for yourself.
The Season of Creation website offers a wide range of prayers. Here is an example of an opening invitation, and first intercession:
Loving God, creator of the Universe, you know every creature and its needs. With great trust we offer our petitions in the name of all creation. Our response is “Creator God, hear our prayer:”
● That people of all faiths use the Season of Creation as a time to remember, respect, pray and act for the good of all of creation, let us pray.
This is followed by six sets of intercessions, three sets developed around different themes, and another three composed by different groups. The thematic groups include prayers to connect with (1) the theme of this year (the “web of life”), (2) the Synod on the Amazon, and (3) climate strikes. These are followed by intercessions written by (1) Franciscans for Ecology, (2) the USCCB, and (3) Catholic Climate Covenant. They are prayers specifically geared for use in the Catholic liturgy.
Elsewhere on the website you can find resources for other Christian communities and denominations. For those who construct worship services anew each week, rather than following a set liturgy and lectionary, there are entire services offered, including selections of readings, activities for children, and suggestions for the worship environment.
The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference offers a very fine set of liturgical resources for the Season of Creation, which you can find here.
These include a penitential service, homily helps that connect the lectionary readings of each week with the Season of Creation, “suggestions for the week” (actions you can take at home) and quotes from Laudato Si’ that might be printed in the parish bulletin, and words at the end of Mass to accompany the dismissal.
Take a look at their “bidding prayers”; here are a couple of examples:
We pray for your creation, the whole cosmos including our common home, and the intricate balance in every part of the ecosystems that sustains life on Earth.
(pause) Lord, hear us.
We pray that we all might be open to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor, especially those people of the South who are facing the harsh reality of climate change.
(Pause) Lord, hear us.
The following text, although presented as one of the petitions in the litany of intercession, I thought would be better used as the prayer to close the intercessions. It strikes a good balance, I think, between acknowledging the seriousness of the needs for which we pray, and expressing faith and confidence.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who live only for gain at the expense to the poor of the earth.
Finally, the website includes a stand-alone service called “Blessing of the Land” composed by the international aid organization Trocaire. This is not for use at Sunday Mass, but a prayer service to use at home, school, or parish. I liked the fact that it was visibly connected to Vatican leadership, as for example in these words of Pope Francis, quoted at the beginning of the service:
‘As Christians we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. . . .
The service goes on to pray about global events of our time, especially the Synod on the Amazon, using scripture and stories, and giving “Sister Dorothy Stang, martyr of the Amazon” a call out, praying that the fathers of the synod will be guided by her example — and that we may be inspired by her witness as well.
Looking a little farther for inspiration, there are yet more materials online that might stir our imagination and offer some insights.
The Anglican Church in Canada has assembled a wonderful collection of prayers in their “toolkit” for the Season of Creation. You can find it here.
The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, has a website of liturgical resources for the Season of Creation that shows how important inculturation is, as they bring into focus the local natural environment. See for example “Wilderness and Outback Sunday.” “Storm Sunday” names the terrors of the tsunami, and the “Fauna and Flora Sunday” features a fetching image of a koala bear. The local is indeed the key to the global.
Although these resources are not devised for use in the Catholic liturgy, the “Prayer of the Day” can be adapted for intercessory prayer. Take a look at this one, offered for the Third Sunday of the Season of Creation this year, which they are calling “Storm Sunday”:
God, our Creator, as we face the storms of this world, we celebrate the wonders of the wind and the weather. Help us to see your presence, not only in the forces of nature, but also among those who suffer from natural disasters. Teach us to recognise that your Wisdom is imbedded in all natural forces, a Wisdom that guides, controls and limits them. In the name of Christ who is the Wisdom of God renewing all things in creation. Amen.
Here in the United States, as all eyes are on hurricane Dorian as it is moving up from the Bahamas to sweep along the East Coast, how do we pray about such a reality? Can we actually see the Wisdom of God embedded in our storms?