WASHINGTON, DC - On the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Sept. 1, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), extended an invitation to people of all faith to join Pope Francis and unite as witnesses for the care of creation.
In addition, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chair of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, also issued a statement drawing attention to the deep connection between integral ecology and the need to respect the dignity of all human life, especially those in poverty.
In his statement, Archbishop Kurtz invites people to reflect and connect with others to make positive changes in their communities. "When we care for the environment, we are caring for ourselves and each other," Archbishop Kurtz said.
Archbishop Kurtz' full statement follows. Archbishop Wenski and Bishop Cantú's statement can be found in the link below.
Today, on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis called upon people of faith and goodwill to be "united in cherishing the world in which we live as a place for sharing and communion." As Catholics, the Holy Father invited each of us to "a serious examination of conscience" so that we might "confess our sins against the Creator, against creation, and against our brothers and sisters."
Tonight at the dinner table with friends or family or making some other quiet moment in this day, we should pause in reflection. Pray in thanksgiving for the life-sustaining resources God has given us on the Earth. Pray also for the strength to sustain individual, community, national and global efforts to care for our common home. When we care for the environment, we are caring for ourselves and each other. Pope Francis speaks of an "integral ecology" because no divide exists between serving as good stewards of the Earth and serving our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.
The seeds of good stewardship are found in the routines of daily life. Do we turn off the extra light or adjust our thermostats? Do we recycle, look for reusable containers and consume only that which we truly need? These small seeds can then grow into broader, stronger, sustainable public policy.
Offering further reflection and practical advice, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement this morning on the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. You may find it at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/joint-statement-joint-statement-world-day-of-prayer-for-care-of-creation-2016-09-01.cfm.
Let us make our own the prayer offered by Pope Francis today:
"O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth, who are so precious in your eyes...
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth" (ibid., 246),
God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness.