A statue of St. Francis sits in the open plaza between St. Mary's Basilica and the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Phoenix. (Catholic Sun)
A statue of St. Francis sits in the open plaza between St. Mary’s Basilica and the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Phoenix. (Catholic Sun)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation should be a time for individuals to examine their lifestyles and the way they impact the environment, Pope Francis said.

At the end of his weekly general audience Aug. 26, the pope asked Catholics and “all people of goodwill” to join members of the Orthodox Church in the special day of prayer Sept. 1.

“We want to make our contribution to overcoming the ecological crisis that humanity is experiencing,” the pope said, explaining why he decided the Catholic Church should mark the annual day of prayer begun by the Orthodox Church in 1989.

Pope’s practical tips for helping the environment


Around the world, the pope said, church groups are planning prayer and reflection initiatives in order to make the day of prayer a key moment for “assuming coherent lifestyles” that have less negative impact on nature.

Pope Francis invited everyone to join him and Vatican officials for an evening prayer service Sept. 1 in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In anticipation of the day, the U.S. Bishops and Catholic Relief Services released the first of a seven-part video series on Catholic Social Teaching, which offers the body of moral and social thought central to the faith. Each video highlights a major theme of Catholic social teaching.

The idea of “Care for God’s Creation” speaks to the universal call to protect people and the planet and living the faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored, according to the U.S. bishops.

“We received the earth as a garden,” says Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in the video, “it would be very unfair if we pass on the earth as a wilderness.”

The remaining videos will be released every three weeks in conjunction with notable events on the Church calendar. The videos are a prelude to CRS’ Rice Bowl program which kicks off on Ash Wednesday 2016.

The Catholic Sun in Phoenix contributed to this story.