Hope and Peace at the heart of Season of Creation ServiceMonday 9th October 2023
This year’s Season of Creation drew to a close last week with a prayerful service that spoke of peace and hope.
The Parish of St John Fisher – home to a picturesque Schoenstatt shrine – played host to people across the diocese who gathered together to mark the end of this year’s Season of Creation.
Season of Creation is an annual ecumenical event that unites people in prayer and action for the good of our common home.
The month-long campaign draws to an end on the feast of St Francis of Assisi (4th October) and this year, we marked the occasion with an intimate and prayerful gathering at the friendly Kearsley parish.
To celebrate the feast, the church was beautifully decorated with statues of St Francis, before which were two baskets of seeds. The first basket contained seeds for birds, along with the quote: “look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). The second contained wildflower seeds and the following verse from Matthew’s Gospel, which reads: “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28).
Fr Bryan Cunningham, parish priest at St John Fisher’s, led the service with the assistance of a number of parishioners.
Peppered with hymns about the beauty of creation, the service had a joyful element to it, whilst also calling us to reflect on the needs of our planet and people around the world.
Throughout the service, we were reminded of the parish’s fantastic work in caring for our common home, not least with the addition of two beautiful gardens representing hope and peace. Fr Bryan and the parishioners talked us through the process of creating the gardens, what they represent, and how they respond to the needs of the parishioners and local community.
The evening also included a whole number of varied readings, including extracts from the Gospels and Psalms, as well as sections from Laudato Si’.
One reading from Laudato Si’ brought into our focus the dual element of our climate crisis by reminding us that this crisis is both environment and social: “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation. In fact, the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet. […] For example, the depletion of fishing reserves especially hurts small fishing communities without the means to replace those resources; water pollution particularly affects the poor who cannot buy bottled water; and rises in the sea level mainly affect impoverished coastal populations who have nowhere else to go.”
Linking reflections such as these back to Gospel readings or the Psalms, the service gave us the opportunity to consider the needs of our world from a uniquely Christian perspective: that in the beginning, God gave us task to be stewards of His creation, and Jesus came with a command to love one another as ourselves.
The service drew to a close with the uplifting hymn “Fill our hearts with joy and gladness” before the congregation went up to the altar to receive packets of seeds.
To find out more about how our diocese has marked this year’s Season of Creation, please click here.
To read more about the parish of St John Fisher and its environmental work, please click here.