“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." Pope Francis
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has declared 19th November this year as the first World Day of the Poor.
In his apostolic letter to close the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church set aside one day each year when communities can “reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel.” He designated this day as the “World Day of the Poor.” It will be celebrated on the thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary time (two Sundays before the season of Advent each year).
In his message, Let us love, not with words but with deeds, Pope Francis wrote:
“ 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!"
It is Pope Francis' wish that the week preceeding the World Day of the Poor that Christian communities will create moments of encounter and friendship, solidarity and concrete assistance.
“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.”
1% of the world’s population own more than the other 99%, according to a 2017 Oxfam report.
It continues by saying that eight people own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world, and that the incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011. During those years, the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.