Thought for the Day – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor
When it became clear that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, would succeed Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil, seated next to Cardinal Bergoglio in the March 2013 conclave, comforted the Argentine cardinal and told him, “Don’t forget the poor.”
The future Pope Francis took those words to heart.
“That’s always been a characteristic of his spirituality and his ministry,” Bishop da Cunha said the first World Day of the Poor, 19 November, which the pontiff announced in his November 2016 closing letter for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, is an opportunity for the whole Church to reflect, pray and think about how it serves the poor the world over.
“During the Jubilee for Socially Excluded People, as the Holy Doors of Mercy were being closed in all the cathedrals and shrines of the world, I had the idea that, as yet another tangible sign of this Extraordinary Holy Year, the entire Church might celebrate, on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, the World Day of the Poor. This would be the worthiest way to prepare for the celebration of the solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, who identified with the little ones and the poor and who will judge us on our works of mercy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptised to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes (cf. Lk 16:19-21), there can be no justice or social peace. This day will also represent a genuine form of New Evangelisation (cf. Mt 11:5) which can renew the face of the Church as she perseveres in her perennial activity of pastoral conversion and witness to mercy.” …Pope Francis in his November 2016 apostolic letter Misericordia et Misera, closing the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Prayer of intercession to the Blessed Virgin Mary
for Migrants and Refugees
O Blessed Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you fled into exile in the moonlight,
carrying your son, our Lord Jesus.
You shared His journey to the Cross,
and are now robed in the light of peace.
Mary, Mother of the Poor,
watch over migrants and refugees
holding their families close on fearful journeys.
Comfort and protect them, we pray,
as they walk beneath the shining stars.
Bless our communities, loving Mary,
fill our hearts with compassion,
help us to shelter the stranger,
and share the goodness
of God’s consoling love
with all our neighbours.