· Pope Francis celebrates the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St Peter's Square ·
«Laudato sie, mi’ Signore / cum tucte le tue creature, / spetialmente messor lo frate sole, / lo quale è iorno, et allumini noi per lui...». The sweet and powerful words of St Francis of Assisi's canticle, along with the sounds of a harp, resounded under the dome of St Peter's Basilica where on Tuesday afternoon, 1 September, Pope Francis presided at the Liturgy of the Word for the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
The spirituality of the Poverello of Assisi set the tone of the entire celebration; a perfect setting for hymns from the Old Testament — sung by the Sistine Chapel Choir, directed by Msgr Massimo Palombella — and words from the encyclical, Laudato Si’, a passage of which was read as the second reading.
At the end of the liturgy, the Pope's actions summarized the Day, which he established on 6 August and which will be celebrated every year on 1 September as chosen by the Orthodox Church in 1989. After the benediction and the Salve Regina, the Pontiff stopped to greet the ecumenical representatives individually who had participated in the ceremony, including representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarcate, of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Italy, of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, of the Anglican Church, of the World Methodist Council, and of the Biblical Society in Italy. Together they recognized that “soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God”. Asking for the grace “to feel profoundly joined to everything that is”, they prayed so that all “may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live”.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 23, 2019
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