Parish conversation and prayer for creation

Presentation, Conversation and Prayer on Pope Francis’ teachings on care for earth, our common homePresentation, Conversation and Prayer on Pope Francis’ teachings on care for earth, our common home

Personal experience and reflecting on the gift of God’s creation together can do us much good.

Twenty parishioners together with Fr Minh Tran, Parish Priest of St Michael’s Parish in Geelong gathered on Saturday 2nd December for a Presentation, Conversation and Prayer on Pope Francis’ teachings on care for earth, our common home. Whilst made more pronounced in recent times, the call for humanity to respect and care for God’s creation, that is people and place together, has come down through the ages in scripture and Church teaching. Parishioners spoke of their interest in the topic and the special role of faith in forming our response to ecological harms evident everywhere but particularly harming the world’s poorest.

Restraint, consideration of lifestyles and daily acknowledgement of nature’s gifts featured in the conversations. Lessons learnt in childhood including respect for the precious gift of water stick for a lifetime, and grandparents are now leaders in nurturing curiosity and love for creation by taking grandchildren to local bush parks and teaching them how to grow home vegetables. The amount of time spent on screens is another concern. Yet reconnecting in simple ways can be so meaningful, and become a daily spiritual practice of thanksgiving and means to sharpen awareness of the inter-dependence of all creation. It’s also hard to notice diminishment in the variety of plants, birds, animals and insects unless we step back from the rush and demands of the modern consumerist lifestyle. Remembering a time when there was more variety of species leaves an impression when we stop to mourn losses and think about the implications. As Irish Columban Fr Sean McDonagh plainly states, “extinction is always local.” Scientists report the loss of species in Australia and all around the world over the past fifty years is unprecedented. 

Gratitude for the gift of creation as experienced in the local area and other special places is therefore mixed with real concerns about what is happening locally and around the world due to climate change, ecological losses and pollution. Thinking globally and acting locally is a responsibility and ideas for restorative action were raised and shared further during the break. 

Mindful the readings from the first weekend of Advent urge wakeful preparation towards Christmas and beyond. God asks we have hearts and minds attentive and open to the movement of grace, and to be bearers of peace, hope and love in the world.

Timely too, the climate conference meeting of world leaders COP28 is taking place right now in Dubai (Nov 30th – Dec 12th.)  Prayer was offered during the parish session for just outcomes. 

Dear God, our Creator,

You revealed your love to us and Creation once for all through the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. By the grace of Your Creator Spirit, teach us to celebrate our faith in the Incarnation that took place in Creation.

Dear Jesus, Savior of Creation, we ask that You may be born in us, once again, as we seek to cultivate hope for our common home. As Your followers, teach us to care for the dignity of all human beings and all Creation, now and in the future.

We pray for today’s victims of global warming and all who suffer from war and various calamities at this time. We pray for our governments, and especially for those gathered currently at the climate conference COP28 that they negotiate with the global good in mind.

Come Emmanuel! Make us ever more hopeful people for a world in need of healing. Let us be part of Your light of hope to the world.


(Laudato Si Movement Advent prayer modified.)

Thank-you Fr Minh and St Michaels Parish for your warm welcome and hospitality!

Sr Caroline Vaitkunas RSM
Peace, Ecology and Justice Office
Columban Mission Centre, Essendon

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