By Kathryne Sparaco
“Choose life. Nurture life.” These were the words of Bishop Douglas J. Lucia during his homily at the Closing Mass for the Season of Creation which ran from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4.
The Mass was held on Respect Life Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Our Lady of Hope Church in Syracuse. Although the cloudy skies produced some rain, that didn’t keep away the many faithful who came out to this special Mass to pledge their commitment to protecting and healing our common home.
The Season of Creation was the initiative of Pope Francis who invited Christians from all over the world to pray and care for the Earth. In his homily, Bishop Lucia challenged all of us to carry on this mission of stewardship and to see all of creation as God sees it.
“We see a world that is suffering. We must ask ourselves: What can I do about it?” he said. “We are called to cherish life because it is a gift from God.” Bishop Lucia also encouraged people to make sure they are setting aside time to admire these gifts, setting aside a “Sabbath” day amid the busyness of day-to-day life: “One thing missing … is that day set aside to admire the goodness around us.”
The Mass was made possible by the Diocese of Syracuse’s Caring for Our Common Home Task Force. Even though the Season of Creation has ended, the work in caring for our common home is not done. David Babcock, who heads up the task force, urged everyone as Mass ended to remember that we are all interconnected.
“The Season of Creation is about reaffirming our relationship with all of creation. All of creation really is connected,” he said. The task force’s two main initiatives are creating “Care Teams” in each parish and encouraging all Catholic institutions to move away from using fossil fuels. In his closing remarks, Bishop Lucia thanked the task force for its work, and reaffirmed that taking action may mean being open to improving our own actions. “In choosing life,” he said, “we need to sometimes change our ways to choose that life.”
Kathryne Sparaco is the Assistant to the Vicar General, Chancellor, Vicar of Religious and Synodal Planning and Director of Facilities for the Diocese of Syracuse.