Bishop Pfeifer on ‘World Day of Prayer for Creation’: Caring for creation is pro-life

Pfeifer Bishop Emeritus Michael Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, prays in front of a Planned Parenthood facility.

An emeritus Texas bishop is emphasizing the importance of caring for creation ahead of the World Day of Prayer for Creation on Sept. 1.

“Caring for Creation is another fundamental and pro-life issue as all human beings depend on Creation for life,” Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, O.M.I., Bishop Emeritus of San Angelo, told CNA. “To mention only one basic issue, how would we sustain our life without all the foods that come to us from the creation that surrounds us.”

In his pastoral statement for September, the bishop — a staunch advocate for the unborn — not only calls human beings stewards of creation but also the “culmination of the Father’s creative work.”

“God’s people share in God’s creative love of bringing in to our world, a new human being, a precious child of God,” he told CNA. “This is why we need to respect and live by God’s plan for the wonderful gift of sexuality.”

Pfeifer, who served as Bishop of San Angelo from 1985 to 2013, explained in his statement that the World Day of Prayer for Creation also marks the beginning of the Season of Creation. The season concludes on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of ecology. 

The day of prayer was established by Pope Francis in 2015. The theme for this year is: “Listen to the voice of creation.”

Pope Francis recognizes the day of prayer as an opportunity for individuals and communities to “reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Citing the pontiff in his statement, Pfeifer emphasized that this is a time for all to pray, reflect on their lifestyles, and consider “how our daily decisions about food, consumption, transportation, use of water, energy, clean-up projects, and many other goods can often be thoughtless and harmful.”

“Rather we should remember each day how we can form a positive attitude about all these issues to improve our common home,” he encouraged. “We are beloved creatures of God who in his goodness calls us to love life in communion with the rest of creation.”

He listed steps to CNA that every human being can take to become better stewards of creation.

“We begin in the home, for the piece of creation that is entrusted to our care — our yards, trees, flowers, our pets and other creatures that are close to us for example birds, butterflies, rabbits, chickens, ducks, fish and countless other little and some big creatures,” he said. “And then, everyday we can join the effort to clean up our streets, our lakes, streams and the natural beauty that surrounds us.”

“A famous creation motto in our state is ‘Don’t mess with Texas,’” he added. “And everyday we can reach out to volunteer our time to help keep clean and in good shape our schools, our churches and other city buildings.”

Efforts to care for creation include taking the opportunity to help others with their human needs, whether that be our neighbor or a stranger, he stressed.

In his statement, he also pointed to the Church’s role.

“The Church following the teaching of Jesus from the Social Doctrine throughout time has exhorted believers to work for the common good,” he said, “which requires dignifying life in all its forms and stages, caring for the common home, committing to the construction of more just supportive, fraternal, and peaceful societies among other fundamental elements.”

Humanity is a part of creation, he recalled.

“Often when we speak of creation, it is related to nature, animals, landscapes, the sun, the moon but not often enough to become aware that the human being is the culmination of the Father’s creative work,” he said.

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He called the Season of Creation a “celebration that helps us recognize and to contemplate the beauty and goodness of nature and all that dwells in it and to care for our common home,” in which all are invited to prayer, promoting sustainability, and engaging in advocacy.

Pfeifer also noted the role of governments and nations in caring for the environment.

“Everyone can participate: believers and non-believers because we are all called to live in harmony, being responsible stewards of our common home which implies that we all must commit ourselves to care for life in all its forms, remembering that caring does not refer just to protection, but necessarily implies loving, contemplating, actively taking part, and feeling part of God’s creative work,” he said. “The Season of Creation is a splendid time for us to reflect on the importance of ecological conversion, to work towards achieving an Integral Ecology of all nature with humans and above all to recognize that the entire creation speaks of the beauty of its creator.” 

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