Lenten Novena for Protectors of Mother Earth

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team developed this novena to invite people of faith to join in solidarity with people, especially indigenous communities, who are courageously speaking out against the impacts of extractive industries. Too many of them have sacrificed their lives to protect water, land and sacred territory. Despite their experience of life-destroying and systemic oppression, they continue to bear witness to our world, claiming their fundamental rights, their essential and sacred dignity and their vision that we all share of water as a source of life.

Traditionally, Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is a journey of faith, preparing us for Holy Week and Easter. It lasts forty days, recalling Israel’s forty years in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty days in the desert. It is a time of conversion. Even more, it is a time to encounter God in those who are rendered poor, and to respond with justice, mercy and compassion. Lent awakens in us the grace of God, the Holy Spirit who sets our hearts and lives on fire and empowers us to be faithful witnesses.

These nine days begin with Ash Wednesday, and include the one-year anniversary of the murder of Honduran indigenous leader Berta Caceres, as well as International Women’s Day. This time of prayer also leads into the Native Nations march in Washington, D.C. on March 10th organized by the Standing Rock Sioux, and an advocacy visit to Washington, D.C. of indigenous leaders from the Amazonian region of South America March 17-29. As we enter these nine days, we invite you to consider listening each day to some native flute music as background for your daily prayer and reflections.

Download the Lenten Novena for Protectors of Mother Earth here.

Download the Spanish version here.