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THIRD WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – 17 November

THIRD WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

17 November 2019

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation released a press statement ahead of the 3rd World Day of the Poor, announcing the temporary walk-in-clinic in St Peter’s Square, just as there was last year.   The clinic aims to offer medical attention to those most in need and will be open from 8am-10pm every day, offering free medical examinations to the poor.

Last year over 3,500 people were tended to by doctors and nurses.   The clinic will open on Sunday the 10th of November and will remain so until Sunday the 17th.

In addition, Pope Francis will preside over Mass in St Peter’s Basilica on that same Sunday.   Afterwards, he will have lunch in the Paul VI hall with over 1,500 poor people from Rome and throughout the Lazio region.

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS (Excerpt)

The hope of the poor shall not perish forever

9. At times, very little is needed to restore hope.   It is enough to stop for a moment, smile and listen.   For once, let us set statistics aside – the poor are not statistics to cite when boasting of our works and projects.   The poor are persons to be encountered, they are lonely, young and old, to be invited to our homes to share a meal, men women and children who look for a friendly word.   The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.

In the eyes of the world, it seems illogical to think that poverty and need can possess saving power.   Yet that is the teaching of the Apostle, who tells us: “Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.   But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no-one might boast in the presence of God”  (1 Cor 1:26-29).   Looking at things from a human standpoint, we fail to see this saving power but with the eyes of faith, we see it at work and experience it personally.   In the heart of the pilgrim People of God, there beats that saving power which excludes no-one and involves everyone, in a real journey pilgrimage of conversion, to recognise the poor and to love them.

10. The Lord does not abandon those who seek Him and call upon His name:  “He does not forget the cry of the poor” (Ps 9:12), for His ears are attentive to their voice.   The hope of the poor defies deadly situations, for the poor know that they are especially loved by God and this is stronger than any suffering or exclusion.   Poverty does not deprive them of their God-given dignity;  they live in the certainty that it will be fully restored to them by God Himself, who is not indifferent to the lot of His lowliest sons and daughters.   On the contrary, He sees their struggles and sorrows, He takes them by the hand and He gives them strength and courage (cf. Ps 10:14).   The hope of the poor is confirmed in the certainty that their voice is heard by the Lord, that in Him they will find true justice, that their hearts will be strengthened and continue to love (cf. Ps 10:17).

If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope.   I ask all Christian communities and all those who feel impelled to offer hope and consolation to the poor, to help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity.   May you always treasure the words of the prophet who proclaims a different future:  “For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings” (Mal 3:20 [4:2]).

Pope Francis Full Message here:

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/poveri/documents/papa-francesco_20190613_messaggio-iii-giornatamondiale-poveri-2019.htmlrd world day of the poor 33C 17 nov 2019 pope francis no 2 .jpg

Posted in PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CHARITY, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Thought for the Day – 17 November – ‘The poor save us …’

Thought for the Day – 17 November – The Third World Day for the Poor and The Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231)

“The poor acquire genuine hope, not from seeing us gratified by giving them a few moments of our time but from recognising in our sacrifice, an act of gratuitous love, that seeks no reward.

I encourage you to seek, in every poor person whom you encounter, his or her true needs, not to stop at their most obvious material needs but to discover their inner goodness, paying heed to their background and their way of expressing themselves and in this way to initiate a true fraternal dialogue.

For once, let us set statistics aside – the poor are not statistics to cite when boasting of our works and projects.   The poor are persons to be encountered, they are lonely, young and old, to be invited to our homes to share a meal; men women and children who look for a friendly word.   The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.” … Pope Francis Third World Day of Poor Message (Excerpt)

“Elizabeth was a lifelong friend of the poor and gave herself entirely to relieving the hungry.   She ordered that one of her castles should be converted into a hospital in which she gathered many of the weak and feeble.   She generously gave alms to all who were in need, not only in that place but in all the territories of her husband’s empire. She spent all her own revenue from her husband’s four principalities and finally she sold her luxurious possessions and rich clothes for the sake of the poor.”

From a letter by Fr Conrad of Marburg,
spiritual director of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

St Elizabeth of Hungary,
please Pray for the poor and homeless,
Pray for us all!st-elizabeth-pray-for-us1.jpg

Posted in HYMNS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on HOPE, QUOTES on LOVE, QUOTES on MERCY, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on PRAYER, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Quote/s of the Day – 17 November – Serve, Love, Trust, Hope – The Third World Day of the Poor

Quote/s of the Day – 17 November – The Third World Day of Prayer for the Poor and the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Luke 21:5–19

So if I, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash
one another’s feet.

John 13:14john 13 14 - so if I your lord and teacher have washed your feet - 17 nov 2019 3rd world day of the poor.jpg

“A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another,
even as I have loved you,
that you also lone one another …”

John 13:34

a new commandment I give to you - john 13 34 - 19 may 2019.jpg

Blest are the Pure in Heart” – From the Breviary
(A perfect hymn/prayer for the Feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary)

Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God,
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ’s abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens,
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their pattern and their King.

Still to the lowly soul,
He does Himself impart
and for His dwelling and His throne,
chooses the pure in heart.

Lord, we Thy presence seek,
May ours this blessing be:
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple fit for Theeblest-are-the-pure-in-heart-on-feast-of-st-elizabeth-of-hungary-17-nov-20171.jpg

Hope means to keep living
amid desperation
and to keep humming
in the darkness.
Hoping is knowing that there is love,
it is trust in tomorrow
it is falling asleep
and waking again
when the sun rises.
In the midst of a gale at sea,
it is to discover land.
In the eyes of another
it is to see that you are understood….
As long as there is still hope
There will also be prayer….
And you will be held in God’s hands.

Fr Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)

Priest, Writer, Professor, Spiritual Director

With Open Handshope - henri nouwen 17 oct 2019 world day of the poor 3rd.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS for VARIOUS NEEDS, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, The HOLY EUCHARIST, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Our Morning Offering – 17 November – At Your Table, Lord

Our Morning Offering – 17 November – The Third World Day of Prayer for the Poor and the Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

At Your Table, Lord
Cafod Prayer for the World Day of the Poor

Bountiful God,
When we eat this Bread,
and drink this Cup,
remind us that it is at Your table
that we do it,

a table weighed down with good things,
a table full to overflowing.

Remind us that we have neither earned,
nor deserve,
what You freely give.

For it is to the starving
that You bring satisfaction,
whereas the full, You send away empty.

Help us to respond to Your invitation
by sharing what we have received,
by breaking the body and blood of creation
with love and reverence
and by adjusting our own wants,
so that no-one is turned away.
Amen

Ged Johnson/CAFOD
Catholic Agncy for Overseas Developmentat your table lord - cafod prayer for the world day ofthe poor 17 nov 2019.jpg

Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES on CHARITY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

SECOND WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 November 2018

SECOND WORLD DAY OF THE POOR – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 November 2018

Excerpt From Pope Francis Message for the Second Annual World Day of the Poor

This poor man cried and the Lord heard himsecond annual world day of the poor - 18 nov 2018

6. The poor are the first to recognise God’s presence and to testify to His closeness in their lives. God remains faithful to His promise and even in the darkness of the night, He does not withhold the warmth of His love and consolation.   However, for the poor to overcome their oppressive situation, they need to sense the presence of brothers and sisters who are concerned for them and, by opening the doors of their hearts and lives, make them feel like friends and family. Only in this way can the poor discover “the saving power at work in their lives” and “put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way” (Evangelii Gaudium, 198).
On this World Day, we are asked to fulfil the words of the Psalm:  “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied” (Ps 22:26).   We know that in the Temple of Jerusalem, after the rites of sacrifice, a banquet was held.   It was this experience that, in many dioceses last year, enriched the celebration of the first World Day of the Poor.   Many people encountered the warmth of a home, the joy of a festive meal and the solidarity of those who wished to sit together at table in simplicity and fraternity.

I would like this year’s and all future World Days, to be celebrated in a spirit of joy at the rediscovery of our capacity for togetherness. Praying together as a community and sharing a meal on Sunday is an experience that brings us back to the earliest Christian community, described by the evangelist Luke in all its primitive simplicity:  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… And all who believed were together and had all things in common and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:42.44-45).

7. Countless initiatives are undertaken every day by the Christian community in order to offer closeness and a helping hand in the face of the many forms of poverty all around us.   Often too, our co-operation with other initiatives inspired not by faith but by human solidarity, make it possible for us to provide help that otherwise we would have been unable to offer.   The realisation that in the face of so much poverty, our capacity for action is limited, weak and insufficient, leads us to reach out to others so that, through mutual co-operation, we can attain our goals all the more effectively.   We Christians, are inspired by faith and by the imperative of charity but we can also acknowledge other forms of assistance and solidarity, that aim, in part, for the same goals, provided that we do not downplay our specific role, which is to lead everyone to God and to holiness. Dialogue between different experiences and humility in offering our co-operation, without seeking the limelight, is a fitting and completely evangelical response that we can give.
In the service of the poor, there is no room for competition.   Rather, we should humbly recognise that the Spirit is the source of our actions that reveal God’s closeness and His answer to our prayers.   When we find ways of drawing near to the poor, we know that the primacy belongs to God, who opens our eyes and hearts to conversion.   The poor do not need self-promoters but a love that knows how to remain hidden and not think about all the good it has been able to do.   At the centre must always be the Lord and the poor.   Anyone desirous of serving is an instrument in God’s hands, a means of manifesting His saving presence.   Saint Paul recalled this when he wrote to the Christians in Corinth who competed for the more prestigious charisms:  “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Cor 12:21).   Paul makes an important point when he notes that the apparently weaker parts of the body are in fact the most necessary (cf. v. 22) and that those “we think less honourable we invest with the greater honour and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require” (vv. 23-24). Paul offers the community a basic teaching about charisms but also about the attitude it should have, in the light of the Gospel, towards its weaker and needier members.   Far be it from Christ’s disciples to nurture feelings of disdain or pity towards the poor.   Instead, we are called to honour the poor and to give them precedence, out of the conviction that they are a true presence of Jesus in our midst.   “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).

8. Here we can see how far our way of life must be from that of the world, which praises, pursues and imitates the rich and powerful, while neglecting the poor and deeming them useless and shameful.   The words of the Apostle Paul invite us to a fully evangelical solidarity with the weaker and less gifted members of the body of Christ:  “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Cor 12:26).   In his Letter to the Romans, Paul also tells us:  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.   Live in harmony with one another, do not be haughty but associate with the lowly” (12:15-16).   This is the vocation of each of Christ’s followers, the ideal for which we must constantly strive is ever greater conformity to the “mind of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5).

9. Faith naturally inspires a message of hope.   Often it is precisely the poor who can break through our indifference, born of a worldly and narrow view of life.   The cry of the poor, is also a cry of hope, that reveals the certainty of future liberation.   This hope is grounded in the love of God, who does not abandon those who put their trust in Him (cf. Rom 8:31-39).   As Saint Teresa of Avila writes in The Way of Perfection: “Poverty comprises many virtues.   It is a vast domain.   I tell you, whoever despises all earthly goods is master of them all” (2:5).   It is in the measure in which we are able to discern authentic good, that we become rich before God and wise in our own eyes and in those of others.   It is truly so.   To the extent that we come to understand the true meaning of riches, we grow in humanity and become capable of sharing.

10. I invite my brother bishops, priests and especially deacons, who have received the laying on of hands for the service of the poor (cf. Acts 6:1-7), as well as religious and all those lay faithful – men and women – who in parishes, associations and ecclesial movements, make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor, to experience this World Day as a privileged moment of new evangelisation.   The poor evangelise us and help us each day, to discover the beauty of the Gospel.   Let us not squander this grace-filled opportunity.   On this day, may all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place, to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope, to advance securely on our path, towards the Lord who is to come.

From the Vatican, 13 June 2018
Francis

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

The First Annual World Day of the Poor and Memorials of the Saints – 19 November

The First Annual World Day of the Poor and Memorials of the Saints – 19 November

Blessed Virgin Mary (Optional Memorial)
Our Lady of Providence

Bl Alexandre Planas Saurí
St Atto of Tordino
St Azas of Isauria
St Barlaam of Antioch
St Ebbe of Minster-of-Thanet
Bl Eliseo García y García
Bl James Benefatti
St James of Sasseau
St Maximus of Caesarea
St Maximus of Rome
St Mechtilde of Helfta
St Medana
St Nerses the Great
Obadiah the Prophet
St Pope Pontian
St Tuto

Martyrs of Heraclea

Martyrs of Vienne: – 3 saints
St Exuperius
St Felicianus
St Severinus

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PAPAL MESSAGES, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Quote/s of the Day – 19 November – The First World Day of the

Quote/s of the Day – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor

Let us love, not with words but with deeds.”1st annual world day of the poor - 19 nov - let us love not with words but with deeds - 2017.-no2

“As long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes
there can be no justice or social peace.”as long as lazarus - pope francis - 19 nov 2017

“Blessed are the open hands that embrace
the poor and help them – they are hands
that bring hope.
Blessed are the hands that reach beyond
every barrier of culture, religion and nationality
and pour the balm of consolation over
the wounds of humanity.
Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing
in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”:
they are hands that call down God’s blessing
upon their brothers and sisters.

Pope Francis

FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017blessed are the open hands - pope francis - 19 nov 2017

“If you want to honour the body of Christ,
do not scorn it when it is naked;
do not honour the Eucharistic Christ
with silk vestments and then,
leaving the church, neglect the other Christ
suffering from cold and nakedness”

St John Chrysostom (347-407)

Father and Doctor of the Church – (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58)if you want to honour the body of christ - st john chrysostom - 19 nov 2017

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES on CHARITY, QUOTES on MERCY, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

One Minute Reflection – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor

One Minute Reflection – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor

Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being.   Do it for the Lord.……….Colossians 3:23colossians 3-23

REFLECTION -“We do not cease praying so long as we continue to do good.
The prayer of the heart and of good deeds has more value than the prayer of the lips.”…………….St Augustinewe do not cease praying-st augustine

PRAYER – Dear God, move me to make a morning offering to You with total sincerety each day and then grant that all my deeds may be a devout continuation of that prayer. Open my eyes to those who need me in any way, let me see as You do and do as You do. On this First annual World Day of prayer for the Poor help us all to start again sweet Shepherd, to become the shepherds of our neighbour, the and helper of all in need, in Him who showed us the way, with the Holy Spirit who breathes in us, amen.if there are poor - pope francis - 19 nov 2017

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

Our Morning Offering – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor

Our Morning Offering – 19 November – The First World Day of the Poor

Open the Doors of My Heart 
First World Day of Prayer for the Poor = 19 November 2017
Catholic Relief Services

God of Abraham,
On my television,
On my newsfeed,
On my street,
Everywhere I go
I see Lazarus.
But I also see so many doors.
Doors that I’ve built.
That I have closed.
Doors that society
has hung and locked.
Doors that separate me
from Lazarus.
Lord, teach me to open the
door to Lazarus.
To the poor.
To know them as your children.
To lift them in their distress.
To work to help them find a
fair share of Your bounty.
This World Day of the Poor,
Help us all turn to those outside
our door –
To bless, heal, comfort
And together, from this day
forward, build a world
Where the poor are strangers
to none
And indeed, the very chains of
poverty are broken.
AmenOPEN DOORS OF MY HEART - WORLD DAY OF THE POOR - 19 NOV 2017

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, WORLD DAYS of PRAYER

19 November 2017 – The First Annual World Day of the Poor

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

FIRST WORLD DAY OF THE POOR

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017

Let us love, not with words but with deeds

1. “Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).  These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard.  The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves.   Love has no alibi.   Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example;  especially when it comes to loving the poor.   The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly.   It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19) and he loved us by giving completely of Himself, even to laying down His life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).

Such love cannot go unanswered.   Even though offered unconditionally, asking nothing in return, it so sets hearts on fire that all who experience it are led to love back, despite their limitations and sins.   Yet this can only happen if we welcome God’s grace, His merciful charity, as fully as possible into our hearts, so that our will and even our emotions are drawn to love both God and neighbour.   In this way, the mercy that wells up – as it were – from the heart of the Trinity can shape our lives and bring forth compassion and works of mercy for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need.

2. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6).   The Church has always understood the importance of this cry.   We possess an outstanding testimony to this in the very first pages of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be chosen for the ministry of caring for the poor.   This is certainly one of the first signs of the entrance of the Christian community upon the world’s stage:  the service of the poor.  The earliest community realised that being a disciple of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in obedience to the Master’s proclamation that the poor are blessed and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).

“They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45).   In these words, we see clearly expressed the lively concern of the first Christians.   The evangelist Luke, who more than any other speaks of mercy, does not exaggerate when he describes the practice of sharing in the early community.   On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation and thus also to us, in order to sustain our own witness and to encourage our care for those most in need.   The same message is conveyed with similar conviction by the Apostle James.   In his Letter, he spares no words:  “Listen, my beloved brethren.  Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?   But you have dishonoured the poor man.   Is it not the rich who oppress you, and drag you into court? … What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works?  Can his faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled”, without giving them the things needed for the body;  what does it profit?   So faith by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).

3. Yet there have been times when Christians have not fully heeded this appeal and have assumed a worldly way of thinking.   Yet the Holy Spirit has not failed to call them to keep their gaze fixed on what is essential.   He has raised up men and women who, in a variety of ways, have devoted their lives to the service of the poor.   Over these two thousand years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters!

The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by many other holy men and women over the centuries.   He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them.   He saw this meeting as the turning point of his conversion:  “When I was in my sins, it seemed a thing too bitter to look on lepers and the Lord himself led me among them and I showed them mercy.  And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of mind and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110).   This testimony shows the transformative power of charity and the Christian way of life.

We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience.   However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.   Our prayer and our journey of discipleship and conversion find the confirmation of their evangelic authenticity in precisely such charity and sharing.   This way of life gives rise to joy and peace of soul because we touch with our own hands the flesh of Christ.   If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch His body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist.   The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.   Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: “If you want to honour the body of Christ, do not scorn it when it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness”   (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).

We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.   Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.

4. Let us never forget that, for Christ’s disciples, poverty is above all a call to follow Jesus in His own poverty.   It means walking behind Him and beside Him, a journey that leads to the beatitude of the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20).    Poverty means having a humble heart that accepts our creaturely limitations and sinfulness and thus enables us to overcome the temptation to feel omnipotent and immortal.   Poverty is an interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness.   Poverty instead creates the conditions for freely shouldering our personal and social responsibilities, despite our limitations, with trust in God’s closeness and the support of His grace.   Poverty, understood in this way, is the yardstick that allows us to judge how best to use material goods and to build relationships that are neither selfish nor possessive (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 25-45).

Let us, then, take as our example Saint Francis and his witness of authentic poverty.  Precisely because he kept his gaze fixed on Christ, Francis was able to see and serve Him in the poor.   If we want to help change history and promote real development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and commit ourselves to ending their marginalisation.   At the same time, I ask the poor in our cities and our communities not to lose the sense of evangelical poverty that is part of their daily life.

5. We know how hard it is for our contemporary world to see poverty clearly for what it is.   Yet in myriad ways poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration.   Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money.   What a bitter and endless list we would have to compile were we to add the poverty born of social injustice, moral degeneration, the greed of a chosen few, and generalized indifference!

Tragically, in our own time, even as ostentatious wealth accumulates in the hands of the privileged few, often in connection with illegal activities and the appalling exploitation of human dignity, there is a scandalous growth of poverty in broad sectors of society throughout our world.   Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned.   There is a poverty that stifles the spirit of initiative of so many young people by keeping them from finding work.   There is a poverty that dulls the sense of personal responsibility and leaves others to do the work while we go looking for favours.   There is a poverty that poisons the wells of participation and allows little room for professionalism; in this way it demeans the merit of those who do work and are productive.   To all these forms of poverty we must respond with a new vision of life and society.

All the poor – as Blessed Paul VI loved to say – belong to the Church by “evangelical right” (Address at the Opening of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 29 September 1963) and require of us a fundamental option on their behalf.   Blessed, therefore, are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them:  they are hands that bring hope.   Blessed are the hands that reach beyond every barrier of culture, religion and nationality, and pour the balm of consolation over the wounds of humanity.   Blessed are the open hands that ask nothing in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”: they are hands that call down God’s blessing upon their brothers and sisters.

6. At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor, so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need.   To the World Days instituted by my Predecessors, which are already a tradition in the life of our communities, I wish to add this one, which adds to them an exquisitely evangelical fullness, that is, Jesus’ preferential love for the poor.

I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.   They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.   This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.   At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.   God created the heavens and the earth for all;  yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.

7. It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, which falls this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.   They can invite the poor and volunteers to take part together in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there be an even more authentic celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the following Sunday.   The kingship of Christ is most evident on Golgotha, when the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and stripped of everything, incarnates and reveals the fullness of God’s love.   Jesus’ complete abandonment to the Father expresses his utter poverty and reveals the power of the Love that awakens him to new life on the day of the Resurrection.

This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek.  Following the teaching of Scripture (cf. Gen 18:3-5; Heb 13:2), let us welcome them as honoured guests at our table;  they can be teachers who help us live the faith more consistently.  With their trust and readiness to receive help, they show us in a quiet and often joyful way, how essential it is to live simply and to abandon ourselves to God’s providence.

8. At the heart of all the many concrete initiatives carried out on this day should always be prayer.   Let us not forget that the Our Father is the prayer of the poor.   Our asking for bread expresses our entrustment to God for our basic needs in life.   Everything that Jesus taught us in this prayer expresses and brings together the cry of all who suffer from life’s uncertainties and the lack of what they need.   When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he answered in the words with which the poor speak to our one Father, in whom all acknowledge themselves as brothers and sisters.   The Our Father is a prayer said in the plural:  the bread for which we ask is “ours”, and that entails sharing, participation and joint responsibility.   In this prayer, all of us recognise our need to overcome every form of selfishness, in order to enter into the joy of mutual acceptance.

9. I ask my brother Bishops and all priests and deacons who by their vocation have the mission of supporting the poor, together with all consecrated persons and all associations, movements and volunteers everywhere, to help make this World Day of the Poor a tradition that concretely contributes to evangelisation in today’s world.

This new World Day, therefore, should become a powerful appeal to our consciences as believers, allowing us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel.   The poor are not a problem:  they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practise in our lives the essence of the Gospel.

From the Vatican, 13 June 2017

Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua

Francis