March 22 is World Water Day
If people feel a relational connection to the watershed in which they live, it is easier for them to act in an embodied way upon their responsibilities. – Denise Nadeau
Wherever we live in creation we are part of a watershed, an interconnected ecosystem nested in a larger ecosystem, which is also a watershed. We all have a relationship with the bodies of water that sustain our lives and we too are living parts of a watershed. As with any relationship, we each carry a responsibility to ensure our relationship with water is healthy. For many of us, that relational connection to water has become broken. Treaties with Indigenous peoples, the first protectors of the watershed have been violated. We no longer carry our responsibilities and we have become isolated from the watershed.
In Canada, our watersheds continue to be threatened by mining, fracking, oil exploration, pipeline development, agriculture, and more. As living parts of the watershed, this means our lives are threatened too. This World Water Day, let us pray for the watersheds that sustain our lives and seek out how we can live in a more respectful and related manner with one another and with the watersheds we call home.
The prayer and rituals below are resources for worship in recognition of World Water Day:
Start your worship service with the Welcoming Water Ritual. This ritual was prepared by an Ojibway woman, Sister Priscilla Solomon CSJ, for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and KAIROS. The ritual does not represent a traditional Anishinaabe water ceremony, but incorporates aspects of the teaching on the four directions.
Place a bowl or jar of water at the front of the worship space (the water can be collected from a local body of water or simply from the tap). You may wish to place other elements of creation in the worship space (i.e., leaves, natural stones, flowers, feathers, etc.) or photos of local waterways. As part of the call to worship, recognize the watershed on which you are gathered, pointing to the jar of water as a gift from that watershed. Find your local watershed.
Invite an Indigenous leader, young adult or other member of your community to share their witness and relationship to water.
A Prayer for World Water Day
Birthed in the water of the womb
We cannot ignore the polluting of water that sickens and kills
Washed in an abundance of water
We cannot ignore the water-robbing industries that deplete our aquifers
Thirst quenched with clean water
We cannot ignore the mining, fracking, and oil exploration putting communities and ecosystems at risk
Moved across rivers, lakes and oceans
We cannot ignore the rising sea level engulfing island states or the devastation of global warming storms
Reconciled in the waters of baptism
We cannot ignore the violation of treaties, covenants with the first protectors of the watersheds
Sustained by the water of an intricate ecosystem
We cannot ignore our connection to water.
Let us be Conscious
And actively protecting
Water, the life-blood of our Creator.
Find out the name of the watershed on which you are gathered. Visit the website of a local conservation authority, watershed council, or municipality to learn about the current issues related to its protection. During the intercessions, pray for the health of your local watershed and all the life it supports.
Invite those gathered to write on a small piece of paper one action they commit themselves to in renewing their relationship with their local watershed. Collect these pieces of paper in an offering basket and offer them up to God and the community as a response.
Contact KAIROS to host a Reconciliation in the Watershed workshop in your community.