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Pope leads prayers for care of the earth, defense of the poor


  • Pope Francis leads vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 1. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis leads vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 1. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis leads vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 1. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis leads vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 1. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)
  • Pope Francis leads vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Sept. 1. (CNS photo/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With psalms praising the marvels of God's creation and prayers begging God's help to end the selfishness that destroys the earth and harms the poor, Pope Francis led vespers for the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

During the evening service Sept. 1 in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope prayed to God, "Pour out your spirit of wisdom upon us so that we would safeguard the gifts of your providence for the good of each person and every generation."

"Look benevolently upon the poor of the earth and grant that none of them would be lacking their daily bread," he prayed. "Defeat the selfishness that hardens our hearts and makes our gaze shortsighted before the needs of our brothers and sisters."

The petitions chanted during the service included a prayer that God would "educate our eyes to recognize in creation the traces of his presence" and convert people "to a just and fair use of the goods of the earth."

Last year, Pope Francis asked Catholics to begin marking the day of prayer, an annual event already observed by the Orthodox churches. In a sign of growing Christian concern for ecology, Orthodox clergy from Italy, as well as Anglican and Lutheran leaders, joined the pope for vespers.

As he did last year on the day of prayer, Pope Francis asked Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, to give the homily during the prayer service.

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