STATEMENT: Catholic Climate Covenant celebrates Pope Francis’ message for the 2024 World Day of Prayer for Creation and solar energy efforts

On June 27, 2024, his Holiness Pope Francis announced his message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which will be held on September 1, the beginning of the Season of Creation. Pope Francis also released an apostolic letter of his own, announcing plans to bring solar power to the Vatican.

World Day of Prayer for Creation

The theme of this year’s Season of Creation was reflected in the World Day of Prayer for Creation message: to “Hope and Act with Creation,” a theme drawn from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8:19-25) explaining what it means to live according to the Spirit. 

Pope Francis explained that all of creation groans (Romans 8:19-22), a sign of the pain and suffering that we Christians must endure in a world of sin. 

“The groaning of creation, of Christians and of the Spirit is the anticipation and expectation of a salvation already at work; all the same, we continue to find ourselves enduring what Saint Paul describes as “tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword” (Romans 8:35),” Pope Francis said. “Hope, then, is an alternative reading of history and human affairs. It is not illusory, but realistic, with the realism of a faith that sees what is unseen.”

Pope Francis went on to explain that our persevering is not in vain, as we await the second coming of Christ. 

“Consequently, thanks to Christ’s redemption, it is possible to contemplate in hope the bond of solidarity between human beings and all other creatures,” Pope Francis said. “In our hopeful and persevering expectation of the glorious return of Jesus, the Holy Spirit keeps us, the community of believers, vigilant; he continually guides us and calls us to conversion, to a change in lifestyle in order to resist the degradation of our environment and to engagement in that social critique which is above all a witness to the real possibility of change. This conversion entails leaving behind the arrogance of those who want to exercise dominion over others and nature itself, reducing the latter to an object to be manipulated, and instead embracing the humility of those who care for others and for all of creation.”

Pope Francis went on to say that the protection of creation “is not only an ethical issue, but one that is eminently theological, for it is the point where the mystery of man and the mystery of God intersect.”

“As we face the threat of climate change and environmental degradation, Pope Francis’ words are a powerful reminder of the role that hope plays in living our Catholic faith,” said Dan Misleh, Founder and Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant. “At the Covenant, we work to encourage Catholics all across the U.S. to hope and act with creation, and not just during the Season of Creation, but all year round.”

Vatican goes solar

Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter on his own initiative June 27, titled “Brother Sun,” in which he laid out plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Vatican City. To do so, the Pope called for solar panels to be installed on Vatican-owned property just outside of Rome. The amount of power to be generated is calculated to be enough to supply Vatican City’s energy needs. The Pope authorized the administrators of the Vatican City State to begin transitioning the 110 acres of land it controls into a solar power plant, which Pope Francis referred to as an agrivoltaic plant. 

The “Brother Sun” letter was dated June 21, the same day as the summer solstice. 

“With the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on the care of our common home of 24 May 2015, I invited all humanity to become aware of the need to make changes to their lifestyles, production and consumption, in order to counteract global warming. Global economy which sees, among its main causes, the pervasive use of fossil fuels,” Pope Francis begins in his “Brother Sun” letter. 

“We need to make a transition towards a sustainable development model that reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, setting the objective of climate neutrality. Humanity has the technological means necessary to face this environmental transformation and its pernicious ethical, social, economic and political consequences and, among these, solar energy plays a fundamental role,” Pope Francis continues in his letter.

“Therefore, I entrust to you, dear Brothers, in your respective capacities as President of the Governorate of the Vatican City State and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the task of creating an agrivoltaic system located within the extraterritorial zone of Santa Maria di Galeria which will ensure not only the electrical power supply of the radio station existing there, but also the complete energy sustenance of the Vatican City State.”

“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis works to model what he says in his encyclicals and other teachings,” said Dan Misleh, Founder and Executive Director of Catholic Climate Covenant. “His inspiration in Laudato Si’ led us to begin Catholic Energies, our own solar power development service for Catholic facilities nationwide. Our Catholic Energies program helps Catholic facility owners design, implement, and finance this sustainable energy option. We hope that more Catholics will be inspired by the Pope’s embrace of sustainable energy options, and explore adopting these options for themselves.”


About Catholic Climate Covenant  

Catholic Climate Covenant is a national U.S. nonprofit founded with the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006 that inspires and equips U.S. Catholics and institutions to care for creation together. Through 20 national partners, we guide the U.S. Church’s response to climate change and integral ecology through faith-driven education, advocacy, and resources.


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