A Ritual of Hope for a World in Crisis
On World Ocean Day, June 8, 2013, over 60 people responded to the invitation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto to join their celebration Come, Holy Spirit: A Ritual of Hope for a Planet in Crisis on World Ocean Day at the Mary Ward Centre in Toronto. The ritual incorporated music, prayer, poetry, and elements of First Nations spirituality to draw on themes from Pentecost, taking participants on a moving journey from a lament of the current state of the global ocean to a celebration of the hope that it’s not too late to act and closing with a commissioning and call to action.
A highlight of the ritual was a reflection by Yvonne Prowse, Retreat Director and Spiritual Director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre. Prowse placed before the group some oceanic images: the blue whale, the largest of living creature on the planet, twice the size of the largest known dinosaur; and phytoplankton, one of the smallest creatures on the planet, naked to the human eye, but responsible for producing over 50% of the oxygen we breathe. Phytoplankton are food for krill which are, in turn, food for the blue whale. The message of interdependence was beautifully drawn.
Yvonne presented many other examples of the importance of right relationship with the earth, drawing from the gospel of John, the book of Job, and the philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Each example reminded us of the interdependence of life on the planet and of the importance of listening and reconnecting with nature.
Participants returned home with a glass container of blessed ocean water that they were invited to offer back to nature. They were called to make some change in their lives to help the planet, be it giving up disposables, using active transportation, or planting a garden. As Prowse said: “The kingdom [of God] isn’t so much a geographical place as it is a way of being. It is living in relationship with God… hence the change of kingdom to ‘kindom’ really makes sense – living as kin to all the rest of what is here.”
To learn more about the ministry that organized this event, see Ministry for Social Justice, Peace and Care of Earth.
Article and pictures by Gisela Côté