Via Aurelia Pilgrims Celebrate the Season of Creation 2023
On 9 September 2023, members of the Via Aurelia Pilgrims in Rome, from near and far, as well as neighbors, friends, and visitors, gathered at the Generalate of the Missionaries of Africa to celebrate the Season of Creation. Among participants were also Major Superiors of different religious institutes, members of JPIC Roma – Commission USG-UISG and JPIC Promotors working in Rome. As pilgrims, we were united with the universal Church, to pray and raise awareness about the need of justice, peace, and the care of our common home. Furthermore, it was a time to ask for the grace of repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and true ecological conversion.
Around 05:00 pm., the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa cordially welcomed the pilgrims. We were about 75 religious men and women. To be closer to nature, we chose to pray in the garden. It was a time for us to treasure and live the value of care imbedded in the Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’ (LS). Why praying for the whole of creation? “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another” (LS, 42). Therefore, it becomes an imperative to care for our neighbor and planet.
Caring for the whole of creation does not exclude the question of peace and social fairness. They are the two sides of the same coin. That is why we took time to listen and meditate upon the following words of the prophet Amos: I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want (cf. Amos 5:21-24).
We were very happy to have been able to come together to pray for peace and fairness among people. We offered our spiritual contribution to the care of our common home, as Pope Francis calls us to do. It is important to note that last year, around the same time, the Via Aurelia Pilgrims prayed together for ecological conversion.
It is worth adding that the theme for 2023 Season of Creation is “Let Justice and Peace Flow”. Through prayer, meditation, and fraternal sharing, we resolutely chose to be active tributaries that build up a mighty river of fairness (cf. Amos 5:24). Such a resolute attitude entails ‘journeying together’ as family of believers. Are you ready to join our synodal journey?
By P. Harelimana