On Thursday, August 31 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church and SS. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, both in Glenview, commemorated the third annual Solemn Vespers for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 1775 Grove Street.
Bishop Francis J. Kane, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Vicar for northern Cook County, presided at the evening prayer. He was assisted by Deacon John Horan and Deacon German Alzate. His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and the Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, also attended.
Evening Prayer was followed by an educational program led by Bob Langert, editor-at-large for GreenBiz Group and former vice president of sustainability at McDonald’s who spoke about how good environmental practices are good business policy.
In 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople designated September 1 as a day of prayer for “the protection of the environment” for Orthodox Christians, a tradition that has been continued by his successor, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. Sharing concern for creation with Patriarch Bartholomew, in 2015, Pope Francis instituted September 1 as the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” for Catholics.
“Thankfulness for God’s creation—of our world and ourselves—is a central element of ancient Christian worship, and our proper stewardship of the environment is not only practically necessary, but spiritually important,” said Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos. “That this event underscores one more shared belief is also something for which we can be grateful in the continuing Dialogue of Love between our Churches.”
By joining together in prayer for the Care for our Common Home, Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians in Chicago are heeding the calls of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to protect creation, especially through prayer, education and action. The teachings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and of Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato si’,” petition individuals and communities to care for our common [earthly] home, thus respecting the dignity of every human being, especially the poor, marginalized, and future generations.
“For years Christians have affectionately called the Ecumenical Patriarch ‘the Green Patriarch’ because of his tireless preaching on the dignity of creation,” said Fr. Thomas Baima. “Bringing our sister churches together to offer prayers for the care of our common home has been a priority for Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and the Late Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. The close partnership we enjoy in Chicago allows us to join together around these issues of common concern.”
Photo: Bishop Demetrios and Father Baima assist at the service. (Photo credit: Karen Calloway, Chicago Catholic)