Sacramento, Calif., Jan 12, 2014 / 06:08 am
The Catholic bishops of California have called for prayers for rain to bring relief to the drought in the state, as well as for those threatened by the lack of water.
"May God open the heavens and let his mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains," said the prayer composed by Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento. "Let us especially pray for those most impacted by water shortages and for the wisdom and charity to be good stewards of this precious gift."
The prayer also asked that political leaders "seek the common good as we learn to care and share God's gift of water for the good of all."
Many major California reservoirs are below 50 percent capacity, while the state snowpack is 20 percent of normal, NBC Los Angeles reports. State rainfall has been below average for the last three years.
Agriculture growers and representatives of local water districts have called on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency. California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Corwin has said he expects his department to ask the governor to declare an emergency at the end of the month unless conditions change significantly.
The continuing water shortage could cause more economic, health, and quality of life challenges for Californians, the California Catholic Conference said Jan. 6. Food production, sanitation, power generation, environmental protection and other areas could be affected.
The bishops' conference released several prayers for sufficient rain, for people affected by the lack of rainfall, and for those who manage water resources in the state.
Bishop Soto, the state Catholic conference president, said the shortage reminds Californians of "our dependence on the Creator."
He said that people are "stewards of creation" and can turn to God "asking that he see our plight and give ear to our plea for rain."
"Water is essential to who we are as human beings," he added. "Our reliance on water reveals how much we are part of creation and creation is a part of us."