Pope Francis established that starting this year, on September 1, the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation" will be celebrated to draw attention to the environmental problems of the planet, taking advantage of the mostly positive reaction to his encyclical on ecology Laudato si.
The Vatican reported that the pontiff, after accepting a suggestion from Orthodox dignitaries, instituted for Catholics "a day of prayers for the care of Creation" for September 1 from this year.
That day is also the date on which the Orthodox Church commemorates its day of protection of the environment, which gives the papal gesture an additional symbolism in the relations between the branches of Eastern and Western Christianity.
The decision is the pope's latest move to highlight environmental concerns ahead of a crucial UN summit on climate change to take place in Paris in December.
"As Christians, we want to offer our contribution to overcome the ecological crisis that humanity is experiencing," Francis declared in a letter to two Vatican cardinals whose departments are involved in issues of justice, peace and the promotion of Christian unity.
The Supreme Pontiff said that the day, which will be commemorated in all the Catholic dioceses of the world, "will offer each believer and communities a valuable opportunity to renew personal adherence to their own vocation as custodians of creation."
Francis also pointed out that it would be an opportunity to "offer God a thanksgiving for the wonderful work that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live. "
In June, the Pope issued an encyclical on climate change, the first dedicated to the environment, in which he proposes a "courageous revolution" to save the Earth from consumerism, global warming and destruction.
Laudato si identifies the weakest as the main victims of climate change and calls for a change in lifestyle.
For the Latin American pontiff, who was inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, the holy defender of nature and the poor, the poor management of water, the loss of biodiversity or the inequality between rich and poor regions are among the greatest challenges he faces. The humanity.
The pope has said he wants the encyclical and other church initiatives to influence the UN summit in Paris in December, the purpose of which is to reach a global agreement to combat climate change after previous failures.
Last month, at a Vatican-sponsored conference between mayors and governors of major cities around the world, Francis urged the United Nations to take a "very strong position" on climate change at the summit.
Reuters, AP and AFP agencies.