Earth Hour is the single largest symbolic mass participation event in the world. Born of the hope that people could be mobilized to take action on climate change, Earth Hour now inspires a global community of millions of people in 7001 cities and towns across 178 countries to switch off lights for an hour. The event recognizes our global responsibility for the climate change which is already devastating lives and threatening the future of the planet.
Earth Hour is now in its tenth year and it offers an opportunity for parishes and other faith groups to celebrate, pray and explore environmental concerns and how our faith calls us to address them. Many parishes are already taking part around the world in different and creative ways:
- Arranging for lights inside or outside your church to be turned off for an hour
- Organizing a candlelit holy hour with a climate change theme
- Planning a torchlight wildlife walk or stargazing walk to make the most of the hour of darkness
- Using some of the prayers at Masses over the weekend
The idea of earth hour very much fits in with the themes of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on Care for Our Common Home. The hashtag for Ireland for Earth Hour 2017 is #EarthHourIrl.
Below you will find some resources for use in parishes in association with Earth Hour:
Laudato Si’ resources
Pope Francis’ published an encyclical letter on Care for our Common Home in 2015. The encyclical, Laudato Si’, takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis of Assisi, “Praise be to you, my Lord” which in the Canticle of the Creatures reminds us that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (1). We ourselves “are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters” (2).
“This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her” (2). Her cry, united with that of the poor, stirs our conscience to “acknowledge our sins against creation” (8). Taking the words of the “beloved” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Pope reminds us: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity … by causing changes in its climate …; to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”(8).
The appropriate response to such penitence is what Saint John Paul II already called a “global ecological conversion” (5). In this, St Francis of Assisi is “the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. […] He shows us just how inseparable is the bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace” (10).
The Encyclical Laudato si’ (Praise be to you) is developed around the concept of integral ecology, as a paradigm able to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person: with God, with one’s self, with other human beings, with creation.
For further information see http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2017/03/23/resources-for-earth-hour-2017/
Pope Francis said the encyclical is meant for everyone, not just Catholics:
“This encyclical is aimed at everyone: Let us pray that everyone can receive its message and grow in responsibility toward the common home that God has given us”.