Earth Day will be celebrated worldwide on April 22 with a variety of events, from large festivals to community trash pick-ups.
Here are some suggestions from Loyola Press to make the commemoration more meaningful on a personal level, not just on Earth Day, but every day:
- Give praise to our Creator. In the Nicene Creed, we say, “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” How appropriate that the first sentence of our Creed mentions the fact that all of creation comes from God! Pray the Creed. Sing songs of praise such as “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name.”
- Contemplate the wonders of God’s creation. Contemplation, (i.e. resting in God’s presence) is an authentically Catholic practice and a way of coming to a deeper appreciation of finding God in all of creation. Take some time to go outside to contemplate. Pope John Paul II said, “Faced with the glory of the Trinity in creation, we must contemplate, sing, and rediscover awe.”
- Pray, pray, pray. Pray for those who are at risk from exposure to environmental hazards. Pray for social justice for those who are poor and who suffer disproportionately from environmental destruction. Pray for those with an excess of wealth that they (we) may come to share with others more generously. Pray for future generations that they may benefit from a healthy environment.
- Create a garden. Participate in God’s ongoing creation by planting a garden. Consider planting a vegetable garden and sharing your harvest with those less fortunate. Create a “Mary Garden,” a tradition going back to medieval times that dedicates the garden to the Blessed Virgin and is populated with plants that bear her name.
- Read and study Church documents on caring for God’s creation. Considering creation as sacred is not new to Catholics. The Church has a long tradition of respecting God’s creation. Read up on what both Scripture and tradition have to say about ecology and the environment.
- Learn about and teach others about the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Kateri Tekakwitha. These two saints are the patron and patroness of ecology. Children especially love to learn their stories.
- Check out the Eco-Parish Guide to find simple ways to help your parish go green. Darcy Osby also has wonderful suggestions about helping children learn about care for God’s creation.
- Take the St. Francis Pledge to care for creation and the poor. The St. Francis Pledge, initiated by the Catholic Climate Covenant, is a solemn commitment made by Catholic individuals, groups, and institutions to honor God’s creation and to serve those who are poor.
- Make a donation to Catholic Relief Services. CRS, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community, promotes caring for the environment in the U.S. and abroad. Visit http://www.crs.org/ to learn more about their work and how you can help.
- Read Laudato Si’. Pope Francis’ encyclical on how we need to care for our common home takes the notion of care for the environment out of the political arena and links it to our Catholic faith.
Image from Wikimedia Commons