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Pope Francis asks Catholics to pray that world makes ‘courageous choices’ to protect environment
Pope Francis greets supporters of the Laudato Si’ Movement at his general audience at the Vatican, Sept. 1, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Sep 1, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis is inviting Catholics around the world to pray this month that the world makes “courageous choices” to protect the environment.

He made the appeal in his prayer intention for September, released on Wednesday.

“We pray that we all will make courageous choices for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, rejoicing in our young people who are resolutely committed to this,” reads the prayer intention, issued by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network on Sept. 1, the day the Church marks World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

The network also released an accompanying video, in which Pope Francis explained the rationale for the prayer intention.

Speaking in Spanish, the pope said: “It makes me very happy to see that young people have the courage to undertake projects for environmental and social improvement, since the two go together.”

“We adults can learn much from them, because in all matters related to care for the planet, they are at the forefront.”

“Let us take advantage of their example and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during these moments of health, social and environmental crisis.”

“Let us reflect on how the way we eat, consume, travel, or the way we use water, energy, plastics, and many other material goods, is often harmful to the earth.”

“Let us choose to change! Let us advance with young people towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment.”

At the end of 2020, Pope Francis established the global network that promotes his monthly prayer intentions as a Vatican body.

He elevated the status of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer, through a papal decree called a chirograph.

The pope decreed that the network, founded in France in 1844 and focused on the spirituality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, would now be a papal institution based at the Vatican. It is now known as the “Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network” Vatican Foundation.

In a press release, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network explained that this month’s video accompanying the prayer intention “has the support of BIP, one of the principal consultancies in Europe with more than 3,500 employees throughout the entire world.”

The network quoted Nino Lo Bianco, the president of the international consultancy firm, as saying: “Our mission as a company is to aspire to sustainable and integrating economic growth that values and protects our planet.”

“We’ve decided to support Pope Francis’ message to all of humanity because we’re firmly committed to participating actively in the development of solutions and activities oriented towards improving and administrating a positive impact on communities and the environment through our work.”

Commenting on the pope’s September prayer intention, Fr. Frédéric Fornos, S.J., international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said: “Once again, Francis’ words cannot leave us indifferent. In the face of the ecological crisis, it is urgent that we change our lifestyle to make it reflect simplicity and solidarity. Are we aware of this urgency?”

“When the pope speaks to us of integral ecology, he’s telling us that everything is interconnected in our lives. Words are no longer enough to protect our common home.”

“Let us pray that we will act with the courage of the young, to live a more austere and ecologically sustainable life that will ensure our future. In Laudato si’, Francis proposes to us a path, a return to simplicity, to fraternity with Creation and those most in need.”

Concluding his video address, the pope said: “Let us pray that we all will make courageous choices, the choices necessary for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, taking inspiration from our young people who are resolutely committed to this.”

“And they aren’t foolish, because they are committed to their own future. This is why they want to change what they will inherit at a time when we will no longer be here.”