Saint Mary’s campus ministry to host event to pray for environment
Hannah Thomas | Thursday, October 3, 2019
An opportunity to unwind through prayer for the world is just around the corner at the Saint Mary’s Prayer of Care for Creation event. Liz Palmer, Campus Ministry’s assistant director, and Trevis Young, campus minister for music and liturgy, are heading the prayer service for the environment.
Young said the event is meant to evoke Pope Francis’ environmental teachings.
“The Pope wrote ‘Laudato Si,’ which kind of tried to bring back to our mind that we were actually originally instructed to take care of the Earth, not to just use it for our own needs,” he said.
For her part, Palmer said the event fits in nicely with other programming Campus Ministry has done this semester, such as the Busy Person’s Retreat.
“They will touch base with a spiritual guide or mentor for 30 minutes to talk about where has God’s movement been in their life, where has it been in their prayer life, and having that continuity of mentorship and meeting allows us to analyze life in an intentional way,” she said.
The retreats and prayer services allow students to establish consistent involvement with Campus Ministry. Students are also able to lead both the upcoming and future prayer services once they attend a training workshop.
“I always appreciate these types of prayer opportunities,” Palmer said. “I think it empowers women to find their space in the worship community and how to bring a community together, how to lead that community through prayer and create this welcoming inclusive space through their presence.”
The Prayer of Care for Creation is intended to be a mindful service for those in the retreat as well as the public. Attendees will ponder God’s gift of creation and how humans are meant to interact with it.
“The care for creation came about because, for a long time, the Church saw creation as God’s gift to us as humans to … care for it, and now we realize that we’ve really abused the Earth,” Young said. “We haven’t taken care of it.”
The service is designed similarly to what is known as a vesper, which is meant to create a space for prayer and reflection. In the upcoming service, there will be scripture readings with corresponding psalms and music.
“A vesper service … is just an evening prayer service in the Catholic Church,” Young said. “There’s usually two psalms … so one is giving thanks for creation, and then one that’s kind of a prayer for ourselves to be thinking about being mindful.”
Along with a hymn, known as the Litany for the Earth, the service will also include a silent reflection.
“There’s a time for people to [stop] and pause from their busy days and pause from their lives and just try to focus on creation and being mindful,” Young said.
Young said the event offers a chance to step back at the end of the day.
“It’s just a way to calm my mind as you go towards the evening, kind of to put your mind at ease and have some peace,” he said.
This prayer service also presents an opportunity for people who are thinking about how to best advocate on behalf of the world’s climate through their faith, Palmer said.
“That call to action through prayer, and how it is grounded in faith, I think, especially coming off of last week, which was the Global Climate Strike and how we saw advocacy across campus,” she said. “I think that this is a great way to integrate those experiences into a worship space in prayer and having this be a culminating experience.”