Pope Francis has taken a cue from Orthodox Christians and designated Sept. 1 as a day for Catholics to pray for the care of the environment.

The Vatican said Monday that Francis, taking up a suggestion from Orthodox leaders, instituted for Catholics a "world day of prayer for the care of Creation" to be marked every Sept. 1.

Writing to Vatican cardinals about his decision, Francis quoted from his encyclical this year about the need for Christians and all people to protect the environment.

Francis told the cardinals the day will offer "individual believers and communities" an opportunity to reaffirm commitments to being "stewards of creation."

The pope said Catholics' marking the prayer day on the same date as the Orthodox highlights the "growing communion" between the churches.