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2024 World Earth Day: Show Appreciation & Stewardship for Planet Earth

April 15th, 2024

Clergy in maroon robe

Green, gold, red diocese logo

Bishop Michael Pfeifer, O.M.I.
Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Angelo

Pastoral Statement for World Earth Day

The 54th Earth Day anniversary will be celebrated on April 22nd, 2024, by millions of people in many countries to safeguard and fight for a brighter future for Planet Earth. World Earth Day always focuses attention on appreciation and stewardship for planet earth. In a particular way, EarthDay.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day which grew out of the first Earth Day, has announced the global theme for Earth Day 2024; Planet Vs. Plastics.

(Image by Elena Pashynnaia, Pixabay)

The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life to give birth to the modern environmental movement. On international Mother Earth Day, we reflect on humanity’s important relationship, not only among human beings, but with the whole natural world. The UN Secretary General has reminded us that from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil that grows our food- humanity’s health depends on the health of Mother Earth. He cautions us that sadly, many times, we seem hellbent on its destruction. Our actions are laying waste to forests, jungles, farmland, wetlands, oceans, coral reefs, rivers, seas, and lakes. Biodiversity is collapsing as one million species teeters on the brink of extinction. We must end these relentless and senseless wars on nature. We have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions, but we must pick up the pace.

The annual celebration of Earth Day indeed calls us to pick up the pace of not only caring for our fellow human beings, but we must also care for the entire Earth and all creation. Our Creator gave us stewardship over the Earth, not to dominate it but to care, protect, and enrich it. As Pope Francis has said many times, Earth is our Common Home, the only home we have, the only one we will pass on to the next generations. This World Day leads us to have a new appreciation and respect for the beauty and goodness of the natural world that surrounds us, nothing more and nothing less, than God’s work of art, his own beautiful gallery. Through the beauty, variety, harmony, and truly wonder-filled marvels of creation, our Creator has something very important to say to us. Today all humanity should lift up prayers of thanksgiving to our loving God for the wonderful gift of Mother Earth, which provides us with the means we need to stay alive. And then, humbly pray that we will be better stewards to better care for this magnificent gift.



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