On Sunday, July 11, Pope Francis took time to remind the faithful about Sea Sunday, a day “dedicated in a special way to all those who rely on the sea for their work and livelihood.”
Celebrated annually, Sea Sunday is a day to pray for seafarers and fishers, and thank them for the vital role they play in our lives. And as Pope Francis points out, it is also a day to remember the importance of caring for the sea and its ecosystem. (Read: A Prayer for Environmental Protection)
“Take care of the health of the sea: no plastic in the sea!” Pope Francis said.
Caring for oceans and seas
According to the report, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean annually, killing marine life and feeding into the human food chain.
The care for oceans and seas is not a new topic for Pope Francis. He made many references to it in his encyclical “Laudato si, On Care for Our Common Home.” He writes, “Oceans not only contain the bulk of our planet’s water supply, but also most of the immense variety of living creatures, many of them still unknown to us and threatened for various reasons…”
“Particularly threatened are marine organisms which we tend to overlook, like some forms of plankton; they represent a significant element in the ocean food chain, and species used for our food ultimately depend on them,” the Pope continued. (Read: European efforts to curb plastic in oceans are working – scientists)
“In tropical and subtropical seas, we find coral reefs comparable to the great forests on dry land, for they shelter approximately a million species, including fish, crabs, molluscs, sponges, and algae. Many of the world’s coral reefs are already barren or in a state of constant decline. Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life,” he added.
In a letter to business leaders at a 2018 Vatican conference on the fourth World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the Pope said “We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic.” (Read: Apo Reef’s Endangered Sea Turtles Increase in Numbers During Lockdown)
“We need to pray as if everything depended on God’s providence, and work as if everything depended on us,” he said.