Tomorrow, as every year on September 1st, we observe the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, a special commemoration established in 2015 by Pope Francis, a few months after the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si'
On Wednesday, at the end of the General Audience, the Holy Father announced
that in this year's message he wishes to draw attention to the issue of water
, “the primary good to be protected and made available to all.” The day will be celebrated “in union with our Orthodox brothers and sisters and with the adhesion of other Churches and Christian communities,” the pontiff added.
Last year, in a joint message on September 1st with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis wrote: “The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, ‘in the end,’ all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ.”
This year we expect a message in which water will be the main theme, at the end of a week in which it has already been the focus of numerous debates in Stockholm, Sweden
In fact, yesterday's theme, organized by the World Council of Churches
(WCC), was “Water and Faith”. The event took place during World Water Week
(August 26-31) with the aim of reflecting on how the groups of faithful can act, in collaboration with the public and private sectors, to realize “water justice” for all populations. During the day there were speeches and press conferences together with strategic planning meetings.
This morning, at the Holy See Press Office, a meeting point was held, in which Rev. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, spoke. He reiterated that there is need for prayer for our Earth, but at the same time there are many challenges awaiting us with respect to creation and to people. “Prayer,” added Duffé, “reminds us of how much attention creation needs, also because prayer always gives us strength.”
“The first human right is the access to water,” said the Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, but we know that “there are over 600 million people in the world who do not have this opportunity.”
Fr. Duffé said that water, the sea, and the oceans are sources of life as well as places of death. “The sea,” he observed, “is hope but not only that. It can also become dramatically a place of death if we think of migrants.”
At the end of the meeting, Father Bruno Ciceri, Director of the Apostleship of the Sea, explained how one of the priorities of this office is to preserve and protect the sea, which is increasingly polluted.
To underline the serious situation of the world's water, Father Ciceri spoke about the plastic found at the North Pole, as well as the “effort to keep the sea clean, also because there are many people, like fishermen, who live on the fruit of the sea.”
The Holy Father’s message for the celebration of the Fourth World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will be published tomorrow at midday.
Read about how the Catholic Church is influencing reforms for the protection of water in El Salvador: one of the many stories covered in The Francis Impact, a new S+L documentary coming soon.