Following the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis called for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1, and the turnout was astounding. Addressing an interfaith crowd at St. Peters Basilica, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa encouraged everyone to take action for a better tomorrow, insisting that stewardship is our sacred duty, as noted by St. Francis of Assisi.
American faith leaders joined the proceeding in spirit as interfaith meeting happens across America. Shiloh Baptist Church in Fredricksburg, Virginia was packed from wall-to-wall with 140 participants represented nine faith communities.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput took a proactive approach inviting his congregation to join him in planting a tree with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Followed by prayer, the archbishops inspired climate leadership and welcomed Pope Francis ahead of his visit later this month.
Amy Flowers Umble | Fredricksburg.com
The man in the black and white clerical collar leaned toward the woman with the bright turquoise hijab as the pair sang a hymn with the rest of the crowd assembled at Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) Tuesday night.
With the other worshippers, the Episcopalian rector and the Muslim woman crooned:
“O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
“Consider all the works thy hand hath made
“I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
“Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed …”
The Rev. Kent Rahm and Munira Salim Abdalla sang and prayed together as part of a gathering to mark the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Clergy from nine Fredericksburg-area houses of worship came together to produce the event.
Pope Francis called for the international day to pray for the environment, following in the footsteps of the Orthodox Church, which has marked Sept. 1 as a day to honor creation since 1989.
Faith groups have not always agreed on the notion of creation care, which calls for religious followers to protect the environment.
Adherents believe that when God created the earth, the animals and the plants, he then made people to become caretakers.
“While nature is there to serve us, we also need to serve nature by being its protectors and guardians,” said the Rev. John Katsoulis, priest of The Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church in Spotsylvania County.