Pope Francis has established a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It will be celebrated on September 1st every year.
The Pope was partly inspired by the Orthodox Church, which has celebrated a prayer day for the environment for years.
In a letter announcing the holiday, Pope Francis said that it "will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers.”
With this new day of prayer, Pope Francis is making a new call for "ecological conversion.” He wants Christians to help improve the environment and humanity in general. In the letter, he recalled his words in "Laudato Si”: that protecting the environment "is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
The letter was sent to the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinals Turkson and Koch. Pope Francis asked Turkson to make sure all episcopal conferences and international organizations were aware of the new prayer day. He said he wants to ensure that "this annual celebration becomes a powerful moment of prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate life styles.”
The Pope asked Cardinal Koch to involve other Christian denominations, so that the new prayer day "can become the sign of a path along all believers in Christ walk together.”