Prayer walk invokes God's healing power

Local Christians pray for the health of creation in front of the statue of Christ the Teacher near Newman Theological College Sept. 1.


Local Christians pray for the health of creation in front of the statue of Christ the Teacher near Newman Theological College Sept. 1.

September 26, 2016

A small group of Edmonton Christians took part in an ecumenical prayer walk on the grounds of the Pastoral Administration Offices to observe the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation Sept. 1.

The group began the walk at St. Francis de Sales Chapel and stopped four times for prayer along the way, including a stop in front of the large statue of Christ the Teacher, west of Newman Theological College, and another in front of the statue of St. Francis of Assisi, just south of the college.

The walk ended on the steps of the Pastoral and Administration Offices.

At station one, the group read Genesis 1 and thanked God for the stars that glow, untamed flowers in the wood, children who are born, the gift of the sun, the seasons' cycles and the morning mist.

At station three, the group pondered the damage humanity has done to the earth and asked for forgiveness for the waste, destruction and disrespect. "Heal the earth, O God," they prayed. "Heal the earth." The prayer walk ended with St. Francis' Canticle of the Creatures followed by a benediction.

"God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight," Deacon Lynn Pion said in the closing prayer.

"Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak and care for this world in which we live."

The prayer walk was aptly called Laudato Si' Prayer Walk in honour of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment.

Sara Farid, regional coordinator of Development and Peace and one of the walk organizers, said the prayer walk was partly a prayer of thanksgiving for God's gift of creation to humankind.

"It's also a prayer for repentance because we have not acknowledged this great gift. Sometimes we have neglected it. Sometimes we have caused it harm.

"And it is a prayer of petition that we learn to be good stewards of God's love and his creation."

Father Scott Sharman, ecumenical coordinator for the Anglican Church, said we are in relationship with animals, plants and water.

Our prayers should include the non-human world as much as the human world, Sharman said.

Last year Pope Francis declared Sept. 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the date the Orthodox Church has celebrated the event since 1989.

The pope believes the annual event offers individual believers and the community "a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works 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 this year's message to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis called for urgent action to stop climate change, highlighting some of the issues he underlined a year ago in Laudato Si'.

He described humanity's destruction of the environment as a sin and accused humankind of turning the planet into a "polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth."


"Global warming continues," the pope said. "2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever-more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events.

"Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world's poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact."

The pope said the faithful should use the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016 to ask forgiveness for sins committed against the environment and our "selfish" system motivated by "profit at any price."