Lenten Novena: Standing Rock and the Cry of Indigenous Peoples
The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team developed the Lenten Novena for Protectors of Mother Earth 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. You can find the full Novena here and read it in Spanish here.
Opening Prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful with justice and mercy, and kindle in us the fire of your love.”
Our Father …
Hail Mary …
Glory Be …
Reading: Is this not the fast I choose? Releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. - Isaiah 58:1-9
Reflection: “Today, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” – Laudato Si’ 49
The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies, collectively known as the water protectors, were praying for months to change the minds and hearts of policymakers determined to build the Dakota Access Pipeline near the tribe’s lands. Their pleas at the construction site against both the desecration of their land and the potential risk to the water supply for millions of people were greeted with violent repression by a militarized police force. While construction was temporarily halted in late 2016, a decision by the Trump administration has again given the project the green light. We join our prayers with the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous people who are experiencing yet another in a series of injustices over the past hundreds of years.
Prayer: “God of love, may we grow in our love for you, responding with justice and mercy to the cry of the poor and with reverence and care to the cry of the earth.”
Prayer for Our Earth:
All powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
And in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
That we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace
That we may live
As brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
Help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
So precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
That we may protect the world and not prey on it,
That we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
Of those who look only for gain
At the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
To be filled with awe and contemplation,
To recognize that we are profoundly united
With every creature
As we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
For justice, love and peace.
- Concluding prayer of Laudato Si