Father Al Utzig left attendees of the first-ever diocesan Earth Day Mass on April 22 with this challenging question at the end of his homily. The Mass was hosted by St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish at its Beaumont church site.
“It’s a very important question,” said Fr. Utzig, who is the pastor of St. Mary, Fontana, and a member of the diocesan Laudato Si Committee, “because what our answer is will lead us to what we do, how we live. If we live, saying, ‘That’s enough,’ the world will be beautiful.”
While humans may be the most powerful members of the web of life, Fr. Utzig suggested in his homily that we are not the center of it, and our lifestyles and consumption habits can have a damaging effect on the ecology, which is a gift from God.
Bishop Alberto Rojas was the principal celebrant of the bilingual Mass, which marked the first time the diocese has marked Earth Day with a liturgy.
“We pray and we celebrate this Mass to create more awareness to protect our common home, as Pope Francis has described the earth,” Bishop Rojas said.
In an acknowledgement of the Catholic Native American spirituality of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who articulated a deep reverence for the elements of creation, youth from the parish presented the Prayer of the Four Directions before the start of the Earth Day Mass. Each carried a symbol representing an element of creation, including water, wind, trees, animals, fish, birds, Mother earth, the sun, the moon, the stars and the Holy Spirit.
The group of youth joined Bishop Rojas immediately after Mass for a blessing of a new statue of St. Kateri Tekakwitha that was recently installed in front of the church. Another group of young people, the Future Farmers of America Chapter at St. Jeanne de Lestonnac High School in Temecula, made the trip to Beaumont for the Earth Day Mass….
As attendees left the church after Mass they were given a packet of flower seeds and a card with 10 tips to reduce their carbon footprint, symbolizing the ecological themes of the day.
Original story on Inland Catholic Byte.
The Prayer of (or, usually to) the Four Directions is not Catholic (or Christian of any sort). Many unevangelized cultures have reverence for creation and that is a good thing. And, all are called to respect and care for nature. But, why the pagan prayer? Why not use St. Francis’s Canticle of Creation:
And, what is an “Earth Day Mass?”
Sometimes it seems we’re led more by the spirit of the age than the Holy Spirit.
Pagan superstition seems to be hard for so many of us to get rid of in our lives. One of my relatives thought crucifixes and statues of Christ were idolatrous, yet she had a horseshoe over the front door for good luck. Thank God it did not fall on our heads. I guess that it did not was the good luck. (Laugher.)
This is paganism.
What’s that old saying? “Don’t count your Wiccans before they’ve snapped?”
Where was the Pachamama ? they did not forget her did they ? did they use a wiccan stang as well ?
Correction: “Do” count your Wiccans before they snap.
It is a Catholic prayer:
Prayer in Four Directions
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
St. Kateri’s Trail
Prayers & Chaplets
Prayer in Four Directions
Call to Prayer: In the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Reading: Ephesians 2: 19-22 (You are invited to face in each of the 4 directions as you pray)
Great Spirit, Come to us with the power of the North.
Make us courageous to walk the sacred path with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
Give us strength and endurance to do all that we are called to do during our life,
especially in times of trials and adversity.
Spirit of Light, Come to us out of the East, the place of new beginnings and promise.
With the power of the Rising Sun announcing a new day, you give us hope.
Let there be joy in our words just as you gave the spiritual gift of new life to Saint Kateri through the waters of baptism.
Great Spirit, Send us the warmth and soothing winds of your healing medicines from the South.
You are the gentle rain that brings forth the seed of life.
Enable us to hear prophetic voices around us
as Saint Kateri Tekakwitha shared God’s love, compassion and healing power among her people.
Spirit of Life, We face you in the direction of the West.
Help us to be bearers of your Word.
May we be voices of life and hope to all peoples, nations, races and beliefs,
as exemplified in the life of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
Together: Pray the Lord’s Prayer
(If the environment permits, form a circle and join hands)
Share a sign of Christ’s Peace
Bob One, I have prayed the St. Kateri chaplet, and there is nothing wrong with it, but the prayer in four directions is similar to the neo pagan European practice. Look up “wiccan prayer in four directions”. The Druidic celts prayed the same way. In the past, I bought the Carmina Gadelica for its historical content, not knowing it had as many pagan hymns and incantations in it as Christian prayers. The New…Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book has some great Catholic prayers but also contains a small non-Catholic section I will not use.
If my parish did something like that when I came for Mass, I’d leave. If it was before Mass, I’d leave and excuse myself from attending Mass that day. I’m not going to endure silly uncatholic pretend rituals. Give me real Catholicism, or I go home.
Bob One, any invocation of the “great spirit” is not Catholic.
The Catholic Church teaches that God is a spirit. Go to the website: Catholic Answers and read.
John 4:24, where Jesus teaches us: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” This means God has no body, because a spirit is, by nature, an incorporeal being. As Jesus tells us elsewhere, “a spirit has not flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
Bob One, the “great spirit” is a direct reference to the Native American deity which IS NOT the Triune God…..
Not when you are Catholic. Catholics do not believe in deities other than the Triune God.
It’s not Catholic. Catholics don’t address God as “Great Spirit’. It’s not a Christian form of address for God. Catholics are so poorly catechized that they think this is good. A bishop did it, for goodness’s sake?
Thumbs down on the event.
i gave you a thumbs UP
on your thumbs down
I’ve always thought of “Earth Day” as kind-of a hippie thing with memories of me standing on State Street in Santa Barbara with long hair groovin’ on a sunny afternoon I have come to realize that dragging a fir tree into a living room and decorating it is about the same thing.
The Catholic Church has taken many pagan things and turned them into Christian things.
Take a look at the Pantheon in Rome.
Fr. Higgins, good Christians do not worship Christmas trees. Good Christians put Christian symbols on it. The church in Rome is now St. Mary of the Martyrs (in English). Hopefully no worship of false gods and goddesses goes on there. On the other hand, there is a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, with a huge statue of the goddess Athena. There is also a replica of the Arch of the Temple of Baal in N.Y. City, and an androgenous Satanic statue in Oklahoma City. That is what Jonanthan Cahn, many Catholic priests and other ministers are calling the return of the gods,
The Parthenon in Nashville is from the 1897 World’s Fair.
Nobody worshipping false gods there.
I think the arch you are referring to is actually a Roman arch. I see some websites calling it what you call it
I see references online to a proposed statue in OK City but I don’t see that it was ever built.
I would get away from any sources that misinformed you.
There are pagan groups all over the United States, and I suspect always have been, but we hear about them more easily now with faster communication. There are the Asatru and voodoo worshipers and more groups from all races. I am careful where I buy Catholic statues because pagan botanicas, which specialize in voodoo orishas, also carry statues of Catholic saints to misuse in pagan rites. If you think there are no people in this country who still worship the goddess Athena, you had better look up goddess Athena online.
The church is aiding those who wish to get rid of most of humanity, to get rid of us people who are considered excess. The environmental movement at it’s core is an attack on human life. It is truly sad the pope helps this movement. Climate Change is bogus. It’s all fake and now the church has adopted this. Even the founder of Green Peace has said it’s fake. This is completely crazy the bishops are promoting the destruction of humanity. They will be responsible for untold harm on humanity.
There is a lot of anxiety about this.
those among us who are
brain dead are not anxious.
In the South we say “You bein’ ugly.”
Wonderful! God Bless Bishop Rojas. Also, thanks be to God for the Holy Father, Pope Francis and for his environmental leadership as contained in his encyclical Laudato Si.
If the attendees at the Earth Day Mass
were put on trial for being Catholic, would
there be enough evidence to convict?
They go to Mass.
It’s nice to finally attend a Catholic mass where there are people of color present.
Ha! Really? How white American exclusivist! Racist, even! Colored Catholics out number whites by 2:1. And African priests make Polish priests look almost like Fr. James Martin! And Polish priests are the most orthodox as a group in all of Europe and North America.
And POC are not ornaments to sooth the consciences of white Catholics either. Sorry if I misread the comment, but, sheesh, hard to take it another way…
There are plenty of people of every color of the Latin Masses. Remember Latins come in all colors.
Correction: at the Latin Masses.
Really? When did you last step inside Catholic Church in this Country?
Aarthi, where do you go to church? I can’t remember ever going to a Mass without people of color present.
Are you color-blind? Maybe you should change parishes.
This general ideology has had me scratching my head since I left my San Francisco Jesuit High School. There is this obsessive compulsion to infatuation with eastern /Asian ‘mysticism’ at the expense of authentic Christian mysticism which, if there is such an irresistible itch for that, gives a bottomless well of diverse and profound transcendent encounter with God on far more levels than some goofy, one dimensional mantra or some prayer that sounds like it comes from a 1950’s cowboy and indian movie.
Me like-um your comment, paleface.
don’t hate hate;
otherwise you are a hater
Oooooh, you are going to be turned in to Gavin Newsom’s hate line. Will someone please call them? My fingers are too numb from typing to do it.
I guess I got carried away with the silliness and should have “stopped while ahead”. I have no idea who the poster called “Tonto” is – whether the person is a man or woman, or black, white, brown or some other color, but if we cannot laugh at ourselves sometimes, we are a sorry lot.
Racist comments are not funny.
And mocking victim’s support isn’t funny either.
Everybody’s a Christian until they’re not.