December 1—World AIDS Day

Des 1December 1, 2022 marks the 34th global World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the continued epidemic affecting over 38 million people currently living with HIV worldwide. In 2019, there were over 1.7 million new cases reported, and over 690,000 deaths. On this day, we remember all those who have died since the disease was first recognized in 1981. We honor the loved ones who cared for the dying in the early days of the pandemic, when no treatment was available and where an AIDS diagnosis usually meant swift and certain death. We are grateful care givers, healthcare workers and scientists who worked tirelessly to bring comfort and love to those infected, who sought to dispel the stigma that often surrounded the diagnosis and who searched for effective treatment and prevention. Today, over 68% of adults living with HIV are being treated with anti-retroviral agents. However, in many communities, the new corona virus pandemic has hampered distribution and access to these life-saving medications, putting many more lives at risk. The 2022 theme for World AIDS Day is “Global Solidarity-Resilient Services”. The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19 and beyond.

Holy One, bless all those living with HIV. May they know that they are cherished and loved. Bless the healthcare workers as they provide access to nutrition and medication that is necessary to control the virus. Keep them safe from COVID 19 as they reach out to those in need. Help each of us to continue to educate others on AIDS -prevention, the importance of early treatment and adequate nutrition, and the critical role of solidarity with those living with HIV and AIDS. Most of all, we pray for a world free from this virus.

December 3—International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Des2December 3, “A Day for All”, is a day for raising awareness of, and helping to create real opportunities for, people with disabilities. This theme strives to awaken us to the fact that disability is part of the human condition. Almost everyone will be temporarily or permanently impaired at some point in life. Despite this, few countries have adequate mechanisms to respond fully to the needs of people with disabilities. Although “disability” often means “disadvantaged”, not all are equally disadvantaged. Much depends on the context in which persons live, and whether they have equal access to health, education and employment, etc. In February the WHO held a global gathering of rehabilitation experts entitled "Rehabilitation 2030". There, they garnered the commitment of participants to help governments build comprehensive service delivery models, develop a strong multidisciplinary workforce, expand financing mechanisms and enhance health information systems, all in an attempt to meet the ever-increasing demand for rehabilitation services. Hopefully, these efforts will lead to greater quality of life for all people. Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in our common future. When building back world economies following COVID 19, let us build back better so that all persons with disabilities can live fully!

God, we thank you for our health. We pray for all those living with disabilities. Whether disabilities are great or small, everyone deserves to be a participant in their own lives and in their communities. To contribute to the common good, all must have access to the means of participation. Help us to listen and respond to the needs of others so that everyone can share in building our common future for the good of all.

December 9—International Anti-corruption Day

Des3Corruption involves an abuse of entrusted power by dishonest or unethical conduct that leads to personal gain. Corruption at all levels is a global problem that affects not only small communities, but societies as a whole. It robs organizations of their present security and wellbeing, and often makes building the future impossible. It is estimated that nearly a trillion dollars in bribes is paid worldwide annually, and much more is lost due to fraud and deceit. Terrorism and violence are often used to sustain corruption, robbing communities of the will to invest in their common future. Ridding the world of corruption is no small task and calls for active resistance by everyone. Refusing to participate in corruption and having safe places to report it and mechanisms to address it, are the first steps towards addressing this pervasive global problem.

God, we ask you to help us create just and free societies where every person and the environment are protected by just laws applied with transparency. Help each of us to have the courage to refuse to cooperate with corruption, so that all people may live in security and freedom. Inspire elected leaders to govern with integrity and to protect their people from corruption. Help us to expect and demand ethical behavior from all elected and religious leaders, employers, and civil servants.

December 10—World Human Rights Day

Des4This day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of the 74th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document proclaims that certain inalienable rights are inherent in every human being. Although it does not have the force of law, it has become the international standard by which nations have agreed to judge their own progress toward building equitable, just, peaceful and prosperous societies. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person as the foundation for a more just world. In the Christian tradition, this principle recognizes that every person is sacred. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to “build back better” by ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.

We pray for all our brothers and sisters, that we may live in peace, without fear, and in harmony with one another and with creation. We pray for open hearts, that we may honor and cherish one another as brother and sisters and provide for the common good. May we stand up for human rights everywhere so that all people may live in peace and safety.  

December 18—International Migrants Day

Des5On December 18, 1990, the UN General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrants and members of their families. There are now nearly 275 million people who have been displaced from their homes because of violence, war, racial or ethnic discrimination, religious repression, or climate change leading to starvation due to floods or drought. It is estimated that 1 of every 10 migrants are children under the age of 15. Unfortunately, many destination countries have closed their borders due to COVID 19. Others have done so as a policy choice to deny migrants entry. This is a day to call on all countries to increase the number of migrants that they will accept, and to put in place procedures for adjudicating their cases in an equitable, timely and just manner. It is also a day to recognize that all people have a right to life and safety. Each year the UN invites governments, organizations, and individuals to observe International Migrants Day by distributing information on the human rights and migrants’ fundamental freedoms. People are also invited to share their experiences and contribute to designing action plans to ensure their protection. Organizations actively involved in promoting the day include:

  • “December 18”, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status with the UN.
  • Radio 1812, an initiative that brings together radio stations to celebrate the day.
  • Amnesty International.
  • The International Organization for Migration.
  • The National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights.

Many organizations and communities celebrate the day through various activities to alert the general public with facts about migrants, problems with human trafficking, the lives of migrant workers’ children, the plight of refugees, and ways to combat racism.

Holy One, we pray for your protection and blessing on migrants throughout the world. Bless all those who seek a safe haven in which to live and to raise their families. Open our hearts to welcome migrants into our countries and communities. Open our hands to offer them welcome and assistance. Open our minds to understanding and compassion. Most of all, help us to address the situations and policies in our own countries that cause war, violence, climate change, oppression and discrimination which are the root causes of migration.

December 20—International Human Solidarity Day

Des6Since 2005, International Human Solidarity Day is a day dedicated to celebrating global human solidarity that is centered on people & planet, underpinned by human rights and supported through global partnerships. This solidarity is essential in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are built on a foundation of international cooperation and solidarity. COVID 19 has confirmed what we already know: that what affects one, affects all.

International Human Solidarity Day is a day:

-to celebrate our unity in diversity;
-to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements

- to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity

- to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the SDGs

This is a day to recognize that we are all sisters and brothers to one another!

God, we ask that you bless all your people throughout the world in their desire for justice, peace, freedom, and protection of the environment. Continue to inspire solidarity among us so that together we can face the many challenges of our global community. Help us to listen to the myriad perspectives that our diversity brings to the conversation. Open us to new ways of thinking and being in solidarity with one another.

 

December 25

Merry Christmas!

May the Infant of Bethlehem, whose birth we celebrate today,

Bless us all with peace, joy, love and compassion.

Flyer

September 1—World Day of Prayer for Creation

sept1The world-wide Season of Creation opens September 1st, the World Day of Prayer for Creation. The season extends through the feast of St Francis, the patron of ecology, on October 4th. This year’s theme for the season is: Listen to the Voice of Creation. This day and throughout the month, we are invited to marvel at the wonders of creation, taking time to appreciate and savor nature’s many gifts. It is also a time to take action to protect and promote biodiversity. Each creature on our richly diverse planet reveals something of the divine to us. All ecosystems are to be respected and cared for if life is to continue to flourish. Human activities that contribute to global climate change and environmental pollution are threatening the intricate web of life on Earth. This day, let us renew our commitment to sustainability and care for Earth and for the poor who often are impacted the most by climate change and environmental degredation.

God, we thank you for the gifts of your wonderfully diverse creation. We ask your forgiveness for the many ways that we have contributed to the degradation of the environment and to climate change. Open our hearts and reveal to us the many ways that we can each make a difference in restoring the health of our planet. Help us all to make the necessary changes in our lives that will preserve the web of life and maintain the biodiversity that is needed for a sustainable future.

 

September 8—World Literacy Day

Sept2The 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 called for universal primary and secondary education for all children worldwide, regardless of religion, gender, economic status or nationality. Presently, over half of the world’s population is illiterate, including 2 of every 3 women. World Literacy Day is a time to call attention to the urgent need for literacy education throughout the world, especially for women. Goal #4 emphasizes that without improved literacy it is impossible for communities to eradicate poverty. Education is the key to self-determination, just governance, elimination of hunger and economic sustainability. The 2022 theme is Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.  This year’s theme is meant to highlight the importance of investing in creating learning spaces that prioritize quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.

We praise you, God, for the great diversity of people around the world. Bless all those working to bring literacy opportunities to those in need, so that we can grow in our understanding of one another. Bless us with enhanced communication through literacy so that we can learn from one another, sharing our hopes and dreams for the future. Inspire each of us to become involved in literacy and education in some way so that all people have an opportunity to reach their full potential and build up the common good of their communities and the world.

 

September 10—World Suicide Prevention Day

Sept3The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that someone takes their own life every 40 seconds. That’s about 800,000 to 1 million people worldwide every year. Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29. Each person who takes his or her own life, leaves behind grieving spouses, friends, siblings or other family members, colleagues and/or classmates. For every person who succeeds is taking their own life, there are 25 others who have made unsuccessful attempts. Severe depression leading to suicide is often untreated, due to the stigma of mental illness resulting in many people refusing to seek help. This year’s theme is Creating Hope Through Action. Each of us can do something to lessen the risk. First, know the warning signs. Encourage those who exhibit signs of depression to seek and receive professional help. Work to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, so that those in need are not ashamed to get help. Address bullying that can significantly contribute to hopelessness. Seek help for anyone who has suffered a catastrophic loss if they seem to be unable to function in their daily activities. Seek help immediately if anyone expresses thoughts of suicide—take this warning seriously. Most of all, be a loving a supportive presence.

Holy One, we pray for all lonely, hopeless and suffering people who feel that they have no way out except suicide. Give them the courage to seek help. Surround them with the love and care that they need to begin their healing journey. Open our hearts so that we may recognize and respond to those in need of our love, support and assistance. Bless the caregivers who work to restore hope and well-being. Bless those families who have lost loved ones to suicide. May they be comforted in their sorrow.

 

September 16—International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Sept4This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol. The protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and use of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. This year’s theme is Global Cooperation: Protecting Life on Earth.

"For over three decades, the Montreal Protocol has done much more than shrink the ozone hole; it has shown us how environmental governance can respond to science, and how countries can come together to address a shared vulnerability. I call for that same spirit of common cause and, especially, greater leadership as we strive to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and mobilize the ambitious climate action we so urgently need at this time."

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

This day we celebrate the fact that through worldwide international action, the phaseout of controlled uses of ozone depleting substances has not only helped protect the ozone layer for this and future generations but has also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change. On this day we remind each other that we must keep up the efforts to protect not only people, but the health of the planet, by protecting the ozone layer. This effort is essential to curbing climate change. Let us be vigilant so that the gains accomplished will be maintained and improved upon as we strive to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

God, we thank you for the gifts of creation and the gift of Earth. We are grateful for the successful effort that we have made to protect the ozone shield which deflects harmful components of the sun’s rays. We ask that you give us the determination and courage to continue our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, live sustainably and protect our planet.

 

September 21—International Day of Peace

Sept5International Day of Peace is a day that reminds us that peace is not merely the absence of violence and war, but the presence of justice and respect for human dignity. As we strive to build a culture of peace worldwide, we are aware that as long as basic human needs are not met, there can be no lasting peace. Respect for human dignity and justice means providing access to food, water, a safe place to live and basic healthcare. This year’s theme is End Racism. Build Peace. We recognize that global climate change, which affects supplies of food, water, and health, threatens peace and stability throughout the world. Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The salinization of water and crops is endangering food security, and the impact on public health is escalating. The growing tensions over resources and mass migrations of people are affecting every country on every continent. There is no doubt that racial minorities suffer the most in all of these situations.

Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments …                                                                                                                                                                Secretary-General António Guterres

We join the efforts of the United Nations as we work towards a world free of racism. A world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred. A world that we can truly be proud of.

God, on this special international day of peace, we pray for peace based on our shared common humanity, respect for human dignity, justice for all, and care for our common home. Help us to reach out to those in need of food, water, shelter, safety and hope. As we care for the poor and care for Earth, challenge us to examine our lives and discern how we can take steps to rid ourselves and our world of racism. May we be instruments of your peace in our world.

 

September 25—United Nations 7th Anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals

Sept6Adopted on September 25, 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) outline 17 goals that must be achieved in order to eradicate extreme poverty, address inequalities, and reduce climate change worldwide by 2030. This day marks the 7th anniversary of the UN SDG’s. These goals are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social issues while tackling global climate change. The ultimate goal is to ensure fair and just globalization while protecting the planet from climate change and preserving its biodiversity. It aims to transform our world and to improve people's lives and prosperity on a healthy planet. Countries, regions, cities, the business sector and civil society are actively engaged in implementing the agenda of the SDGs. They are mobilizing efforts to end all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind by 2030.

Holy One, today we pray that all people will continue to work together and re-double our efforts to help all people of the planet live in peace and promote prosperity for all in an equitable and sustainable way. Thank you for the blessings of Earth and the unique gifts that each person brings to life on our planet. We, along with all creation, give you praise and thanks.

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