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World Oceans Day

The United Nations designated June 8th as World Oceans Day (part of World Oceans Week, 5-11th June 2023)

World Ocean Day unites and rallies the world to protect and restore our blue planet!

(see also the entry on 2022 World Oceans Day on the VCC website)

Psalm 104:25
Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.

Climate change. Plastic pollution. Rising sea levels. Loss of wildlife. Overfishing. The problems impacting the ocean seem as vast as the ocean itself.

Pope Francis: “Oceans contain the bulk of our planet’s water supply, and also most of the immense variety of living creatures, many of which are threatened for various reasons. And we are not aware of this, or we don’t want to take responsibility. Let’s not forget that one of every two breaths I take is thanks to the oceans. A month ago, I had a meeting with a group of fishermen. Seven of them told me this: “During the last months we gathered 6 tons of plastic.” This is the death of the oceans. It is the death of every living being. It is my death. Creation is a project of love, of the love God gives to humanity. An interdisciplinary approach to deal with the threats caused by the unjust management of our seas will help us to face this great challenge. And with this our survival is at stake. Our solidarity with the “common home” is born from our faith. Let us pray that politicians, scientists and economists work together to protect the world’s seas and oceans.”

Rev James Bhagwan from Fiji is General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches. He reflects:

“In the Pacific world we have recognized the need to protect our oceans and our land, not only to protect our livelihoods, but also to protect what is a part of us. The Blue Economy views the ocean as an economic resource. What is the value of the minerals in the ocean? How much money can I sell them for?

But this material value conflicts with the value inherent in the oceans. The ocean is full of life. It is part of the regulating system of the earth’s climate. We are beginning to base our arguments on this, and we are beginning to see the effects. We really need to talk more about the stress on the seas. The oceans absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide and thus swallow up a large proportion of the greenhouse gases released by man. The sea stores more carbon than the atmosphere and the land biosphere. When we talk about ‘blue carbon’, we mean that the oceans and coastal ecosystems are able of storing large quantities of carbon

In the Pacific region, the churches, the traditional elders, who are the custodians of indigenous knowledge, and thinkers have developed what we call an ecological development framework. Our concept places ecology at the centre and, in the long term, means a paradigm shift, a radically different understanding of development and the recognition of the values of our cultures and resources for the development path that lies ahead.

We as Pacific islanders cannot take ownership of the land in the Western sense of ownership. We consider our identity as being part of the sea, part of the land. In fact, in most traditional Pacific Island cultures, the self does not exist. We exist in community. We exist as part of the natural environment, which is the land, the sea, the sky, and all creation. Our traditional spirituality is a creation-centred spirituality.

For ocean protection, we need a radically different understanding of development and recognition of the values of our cultures”.

(adapted from an interview with Rev James Bhagwan)

We pray that all people feel called to discern their role in protecting our oceans and hope that each of us feels a renewed sense of connectedness with the ocean and its many gifts to us.
We pray for the more than 3 billion people whose livelihood depends on the health of our oceans, those who fish the waters for food and nutrients, and those whose culture and spirituality are entwined with the ocean and its mysteries:
We pray for small island nations and those most impacted by humanity’s destructive processes that rob the ocean of its natural ability to regulate.
(Source: Mercy World)

Prayer written by Year 7 Bridgeman

Let us place ourselves in the presence of God, as we pray, in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit.

Let us take stewardship for our oceans, accept the consequences for our misdeeds, and entrust our faith in you to grant us wisdom to care for our planet through sustainability until the earth shall pass. Help us to act now, to protect our fragile ecosystem; prevent us from destroying God’s creation, all its natural wonders, of the ocean and its inhabitants.
From the humpback whale to the tiniest fish, we pray for all sea wildlife. For all the creatures that have been harmed as a result of human’s mistakes.

May the reefs continue growing and feeding the marine life for all eternity. May the warming sun, along with mankind you have made, preserve the beauty of our reefs.

God, help us to make good choices and guide us not to pollute our oceans but to care for them. Give us hope that we can make our oceans healthier, without plastic or pollution, for generations to come.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(posted on St John Fisher College Facebook page, adapted)

May the love of God be as deep as the ocean floor, as sweeping as the currents, and as soothing as the waves crashing on the shore. Creator of mysteries, help each of us be stewards of the ocean. Stir our spirits with wonder and amazement knowing that Your love for us extends even beyond the horizon of the open sea. We rejoice in the living waters of the ocean and tread lightly on Your shores, hoping to leave this miraculous creation a mystery to behold for all future generations. Amen.

(Source: Mercy World)