The Season of Creation calendar has been revised to make it more international and ecumenical in character and more adaptable to the calendar expectations of different countries and traditions. Each community and country is, of course, free to modify this calendar so that it fits the dates, days and themes of the local situation.
The international dimensions of the calendar have been included after consultation with a range of bodies. The Statement of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines given below follows the pattern of the ECEN and illustrates the growing international interest in the period specified as The Season of Creation.
The basic pattern for this calendar is:
September 1 – Day of Creation (as in Orthodox traditions)
Four Sundays – four domains of creation e.g, Forest, Land, Ocean and River Sundays
St Francis of Assisi Day
Blessing of the Animals
Special Sunday – appropriate to the country or community
Second Sunday in October – Final Sunday of the Season
THE SEASON OF CREATION – 2016 Series C: Wisdom in Creation
September 1 Creation Day
September 4 1st Sunday in Creation – Ocean Sunday
September 11 2nd Sunday in Creation – Fauna and Flora Sunday
September 18 3rd Sunday in Creation – Storm Sunday
September 25 4th Sunday in Creation – Cosmos Sunday
October 2 St Francis of Assisi Day – Blessings of the Animals
THE SEASON OF CREATION – 2017 Series A: The Spirit in Creation
September 1 Creation Day
September 3 1st Sunday in Creation – Forest Sunday
September 10 2nd Sunday in Creation – Land Sunday
September 17 3rd Sunday in Creation – Wilderness/Outback Sunday
September 24 4th Sunday in Creation – River Sunday
October 1 St Francis of Assisi Day – Blessings of the Animals
THE SEASON OF CREATION – 2018 Series B: The Word in Creation
September 1 Creation Day
September 2 1st Sunday in Creation – Planet Earth Sunday
September 9 2nd Sunday in Creation – Humanity Sunday
September 16 3rd Sunday in Creation – Sky Sunday
September 23 4th Sunday in Creation – Mountain Sunday
September 30 5th Sunday in Creation – Blessing of the Animals
October 4 St Francis of Assisi Day
The following statement by the Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines follows the model of the ECEN and the revised calendar above.
CELEBRATING CREATION DAY AND CREATION TIME
(A Pastoral Statement of the CBCP Permanent Council)
1. Today, September 1, in many parts of the world Christian churches are celebrating “Creation Day.” They have also set the period from this day to October 4 (the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi) or the Sunday after October 4 as “Creation Time.” We wish to introduce this period to our Catholic faithful and acknowledge “Creation”, that priceless gift of the Almighty and Loving Creator who has made us into his own image and likeness.
2. In our landmark Pastoral Letter on Ecology, “What is Happening to Our Beautiful Land” (January 29, 1988), we said: “At this point in the history of our country it is crucial that people motivated by religious faith develop a deep appreciation for the fragility of our islands’ life-systems and take steps to defend the Earth. “It is a matter of life and death” (see Pastoral Letters, 1945-1995, p. 663). This is why today we thank the many Christian churches that celebrate Creation Day and Creation Time, in order to offer “prayers and supplications to the Maker of all, both as thanksgiving for the great gift of creation and as petition for its protection and salvation” (Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople; it was his call in 1999 that set off this ecumenical celebration).
3. Our pastoral letter of 1988 reminded us of our responsibility to preserve and promote the integrity of creation in the face of the planetary ecological crisis. The life of God’s creation is “the ultimate pro-life issue”. We have been made “stewards” of this divine creation. We know that all humanity continues to fail in this regard as ecological destruction and degradation continues without abating. Since the publication of our pastoral letter many places in our country have been hit hard by flashfloods causing great destruction to human lives and property. Such destruction is attributable to wanton deforestation. Even today mining explorations and inadequately tested agricultural and seed technology involving genetically modified organisms could pose new threats to the environment and to human lives.
4. Therefore, the Church calls us to conversion regarding ecological concerns. In order to undergo this conversion, individual dioceses, parishes, basic ecclesial communities, schools, religious congregations and various other church and church related groups have initiated over the last several years various ecological education programs, environmental protection activities, and sustainable development projects. We welcome ecumenical initiatives in ecological advocacy in order preserve and promote God’s irreplaceable gift of Creation.
5. During this special period of “Creation Time” we urge as we have done in our 1988 pastoral letter that “our different liturgies celebrate the beauty and pain of our world, our connectedness to the natural world and the on-going struggle for social justice” (Ibid., p. 672). We also urge once again the setting up of a Care of the Earth ministry at every level of Church organization. We strongly remind our government not to pursue short-term economic gains at the expense long-term ecological damage.
6. As we celebrate Creation Time, let us deepen our faith in the Triune God through our commuunal liturgies, devotions, and in our personal prayer life. Let us celebrate God the Father as the Creator, Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as Sustainer of all life, human and non-human. Let us “thank God for the many ways He has gifted our land” and “resolve to cherish and protect what remains of this bounty for this and future generations of Filipinos” (Ibid., p. 664) May Mary, Mother of Life, protect us, bless and heal our land.
For the CBCP Permanent Council:
+ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I., DD
Archbishop of Cotabato
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, September 1, 2003
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