Monthly Archives: August 2021

Season of Creation

The Season of Creation has a special significance for the Catholic Church, particularly since Pope Francis established 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. 

The Season of Creation or Creation Time, is marked throughout the Christian world from 1 September to 4 October (Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) and celebrates the joy of creation as well as encouraging awareness-raising initiatives to protect the natural environment.

Restoring Our Common Home

The theme for the Season of Creation 2021 is ‘Restoring Our Common Home’. During this season we are asked to join together to celebrate creation and protect our common home through prayer, reflection and action.

The global Christian family is called to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and with each other and to encourage our parish communities to do the same, “for we know that things can change!” (Laudato Si’, 13).  

This year we celebrate this season mindful of the fact that our world continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a devastating climate and biodiversity crisis. We look towards two UN Conferences in the Autumn, COP15 (on Biodiversity, due to take place in China) and COP24 (on climate change, Glasgow) in the hope that world leaders take the urgent action that is needed to Restore Our Common Home. Catholics are urged to sign the “Healthy Planet Healthy People” petition as a key action for this year’s Season of Creation. This petition has been endorsed by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development in the hope that millions of Catholics will raise their voices in the public sphere to help Restore Our Common Home in the run up to these vital UN Conferences. 

Resources from the Laudato Si’ Working Group 

The following resources are offered for use in dioceses, parishes and in the home, during the Season of Creation 2021: 

  1. Sunday Liturgy Notes for the Season of Creation 2021 – This resource includes homily notes for each Sunday, prayers of the faithful, music suggestions, reflections and mass parts which highlight the call to restore God’s creation.
  2. A weekday Prayer Service for the Season of Creation 2021 – This ecumenical resource could be used to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Creation on 1 September in an ecumenical setting, or as a resource that could be used for the celebration of the Eucharist in parishes, or at any other time between 1st September and 4th October, feast of Saint, Francis of Assisi. We have prepared it for a formal church setting or for use out-of-doors.  
  3. An Earth Day Prayer Service – This beautiful service was compiled by Balally Parish, Dublin to celebrate Earth Day in 2021 but could be adapted and used as part of any Season of Creation event. It includes a reflection by Father Dermot Lane. 
  4. Practical Actions for Parishes 2021
  5. Tree Planting Resource for the Season of Creation 2021 – Restore Our Common Home this year by engaging your parish or diocese in Tree Planting initiatives. Thanks to ‘Easy Treesie’ we have all the tips you need and prayers for tree planting. 
  6. Season of Creation Brochure Digital – A colourful resourcewith many practical tips and reflections on how to Restore Our Common Home. From the JPIC committee in the Diocese of Kerry and the Laudato Si’ Working Group. Season Of Creation Brochure for printing
  7. Acts of Love for the Season of Creation 2021 – PowerPoint with practical suggestions for each day of the Season. With many thanks to the Care for Creation team at Bonnybrook Parish Dublin for sharing this resource with us. 
  8. Season of Creation Prayer 2021 – A Video Reflection which can be used for meetings, prayers, on social media or in parishes with PowerPoint accessibility. (see below for video) 

Video Player00:0003:05

Season of Creation Podcasts 

This year we will be sharing a series of podcasts to highlight different themes relating to the Season of Creation and its theme Restoring Our Common Home, as well as looking at some of the science and theology behind climate change and climate justice. 

These podcasts will be available from 1 September

Resources from Pope Francis and the Vatican 

Pope Francis on Caring for Our Common Home 

“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.”“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.” “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years.” “We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us.” “The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.” “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start. Click here for resources on the Care of Creation from the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

Creation Time Thought for the Day visuals 

There are a selection of images available for use in parishes and dioceses for the Season of Creation. These can be downloaded for sharing on websites and social media. More visuals will be added over the course of the next few weeks so do check the album for the most recent visuals. 

Click here for the images. 

Recommended reading for the Season of Creation 2021

Prayers and Reflections for the Season of Creation 

Audio: Click here to listen to ‘A Prayer for Our Earth’ from Laudato Si’.

A prayer for our earth from Laudato Si’ 
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
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 look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Amen.

A Christian prayer in union with creation
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand; they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.

You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother, you became part of this earth, and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light
You guide this world towards the Father’s love and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.

O Lord, seize us with your power and light, help us to protect all life, to prepare for a better future, for the coming of your Kingdom of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

Meadow Meaning – A Reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick OFM Cap 

Shhhhh…
Look…
Listen…
Even
the blades of grass
Even
the flowers
you dare to call
weeds
Even
the light fast lives
of tiny buzzing
beings
hear the call of Divine
love
and give them
selves totally to
grow towards the
light.
And what of
you?

Forest Faith – a reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick Ofm Cap 

When the edges of my mind fray,
and the golden sacred thread
seems pulled, gathered, caught
upon the briar of my broken being,
and my hearthome holds too much
behind its ancient doors
so there is no breathing space at all,
I take myself to the woods.
For there I become not young,
but small again and feel the rising
ocean tides of sap lull me at last
into the deep greening rest of soul
only the old tall ones know
the sky touchers, earth drinkers
we call in our dull infant speech, simply Trees.
So I place my foot upon the winding path
and dew the way with tears and sometimes even blood,
until their windleaf song sounds soul deep, and slows and halts me long enough
to feel their verdant canopy of calm,
and I greet them then,
as the keepers of the way they are;
the blessed Beech and noble Holly,
the Oak and Ash and Thorn,
grey brown brothers and sisters
of the branching dance of being.
Their familiar oldness a reminder
of my passing place
in all this; they leaflean down
to teach me once again the way of prayer
as being and being as prayer,
allowing the holy breath to play along my spine as within their trunked tallness
while standing through the shifting seasons
they grow slowly, imperceptibly, always,
until flower and fruiting follow in their turn,
then the seeming fall, asleep asunder for awhile,
as my life now flutters, cast upon the winds
lost in wildness, a wintered leaf, dry and brittle,
but here in their stately shadows
daring to read the scripture of their state,
and hear their prophecy proclaimed in stillness; that old roots dig deep and deeper still, that branches bend so not to break and that there is a joy in storms when yielded to.
So for a while I breathe the sylvan air
and greet the great and green,
these guardians of natural grace,
and then when I have walked long enough to become reminded, rewilded and rehomed in heart, I bow in thanks
and leave the woods to plant their sainted seeds throughout my world and life;
to feel a forest grow within
and make the faith feathered one
a home.

ENDS 

These resources have been prepared by the Catholic Communications Office, the Bishops’ Council for Justice and Peace, the Laudato Si’ Working Group, Trócaire, and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. We are also grateful to Brother Richard Hendrick OFm Cap for his beautiful reflections on the natural world. Please note that the resources will be updated regularly so do please check back in with this page from time to time. 

Celebration of the Sacraments

First Holy Communion and Confirmation – Autumn 2021

During the past number of days, a number of bishops have issued statements in relation to the celebration of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation in their dioceses.  I have been contacted by some media organisations asking for clarification around the celebration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Achonry.  On the 24thFebruary this year I issued a statement saying:

In consultation with the Priests’ Council, I have decided to postpone the celebration of the Sacraments of Confirmation, First Penance and First Holy Communion in Achonry Diocese until the Autumn.  My hope is that this will give our schools and families more time for the preparation of the children and it will enable families to gather in a safer way to celebrate the Sacraments when the majority of us are vaccinated and restrictions have eased. 

I emphasise the reason for this decision is to bring clarity at this early stage for all concerned and to enable the children have a meaningful and memorable celebration with their families, friends, and parish community when it is safer to do so.  I thank the families, teachers, parishioners, and priests for all they are doing to prepare the children for the Sacraments during this difficult year.  All of the above is, of course, subject to public health advice.’

Following on from this, Confirmations are due to start in the diocese on the 12th of September 2021.  As I understand parishes have postponed First Communion Ceremonies until September also, therefore the celebration of these Sacraments in August was never planned for our diocese.  As the vaccination programme continues, we look forward to celebrating the Sacraments with our children and their families in a safe and meaningful way from mid-September onwards.

In the meantime, may we continue to keep vigilant around the virus so that we can emerge out of this difficult time safe and well.

With kind regards and every blessing,

+Paul Dempsey,

Bishop of Achonry.