Guest post by Marisa Vertrees of the Global Catholic Climate Movement
Last September, Pope Francis released an incredible message, “Show Mercy to our Common Home” that enshrined care for creation as a new act of mercy, just like clothing the naked or feeding the hungry This year, Divine Mercy Sunday—when we celebrate the mercy shown to us by Jesus Christ—falls the Sunday after Earth Day.
To celebrate the convergence of these two dates, Catholics around the world will be taking part in the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s #Mercy2Earth weekend to highlight this new act of mercy through prayer and action. In the Amazon, there will be a prayer walk and clean up. In Manila, Philippines people will gather at a park to attend workshops on ecology. In the United States many Catholics will be taking this weekend to prepare for the People’s Climate March on April 29th.
At the Peoples Climate March, Catholics will be “praying with our feet” and demanding action on the climate from Congress and Donald Trump. The #Mercy2Earth weekend gives us a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the March, inviting the parish to pray with and for those attending the March, and spiritually preparing as individuals. The Global Catholic Climate Movement has developed an examination of conscience focusing on how we ourselves have heeded “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” before we head off to the march.
Attending the Peoples Climate March is a way to take part in this new Act of Mercy. Many people are acting as “Catholic Leads”, helping to organize others from their parish or community. Some parishes will be using the #Mercy2Earth weekend to prepare for the March in printing banners or stickers to help us recognize that we are Marching proudly as Catholics, joining the other faith contingents at the March.
Both weekends, parishes will be taking part in gestures large and small to recognize the need to care for our common home. There will be delegations attending the March, sister Marches planned around the country, and prayer services in solidarity with the marchers, in the eternal hope of changing hearts and minds.
As Pope Francis has said “[We] are called to care for creation not only as responsible citizens, but also as followers of Christ.”
To learn more about joining the Global Catholic Climate Movement at the March, visit our site for more information and resources.