Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of July, 2019
July 11 - World Population Day
July 11th, World Population Day, seeks to raise awareness of issues around world population. The world’s population has grown from 3 billion in 1960, to 5 billion in 1987, to about 7 billion now. Despite having the Earth capacity to produce enough food for everyone, the increasing environmental degradation, armed conflicts, and population displacements cause by both ofthese, makes food growth and distribution difficult.
With food and water crises comes additional human rights abuses and further losses of biological diversity needed to maintain a healthy environment. Increasing population also brings growing demands for energy. Even renewable, clean energy sources havelimited capacity to meet the growing needs of this planet’s growing population. The Catholic Church has not yet addressed the rate of population growth and its long-term affect on the planet. We pray that the Church will seriously reflect on this crisis and exert moral leadership on how best to respect human dignity and human life, while also protecting Earth and its limited resources.
God, we thank you for the gift ofall the great diversity of people on planet Earth. We are grateful for the unique gifts of each person. We thank you, too, for Earth, our common home. She sustains us with water, food, and air. We know her resources are not limitless and we know that population growth cannot continue at a limitless rate. Help us to live responsibly on this earth with respect for human dignity, while cherishing all creation.
July 18 - Birthday of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in , to the Thembu royal family. Educated as a lawyer, Mandela joined the struggle against apartheid in 1943. In 1964 he was sentenced to life at hard labor at the notorious Robben Island Prison in S Africa for attempted violent overthrow of the government. Mandela became an international symbol of the oppression of racism and apartheid. While continuing his struggle for racial justice and an open and free democracy in South Africa, even during his prison sentence, he also became a symbol of persistence and hope. He helped to negotiate an end to apartheid and was finally released from prison in 1990. After an open and free political campaign, he was elected and inaugurated in 1994 as the first black president of South Africa. Although the transition from apartheid to an open and inclusive democracy was not without violence, Mandela’s commitment to nonviolence and a peaceful transition prevented all-out civil war. South Africa became a shining example of how hope, persistence, nonviolence and reconciliation can transform a society.
Holy One, we ask for your loving care for all those throughout the world who suffer from racial discrimination, political exclusion or social rejection. We pray that all men and women will be treated with respect and dignity. May we listen to each other’s hopes and dreams with open hearts and accept each other with compassion. Like Nelson Mandela, inspire us to hold on to what we know is right, to work for what we know is possible, and to create the world we wish to live in.
July 30 - International Day of Friendship
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly. It is a day dedicated to promoting friendship between individuals, countries, and cultures that can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. This day calls us to reach out to those different from ourselves with open listening and sharing, in order to promote personal relationships. By so doing, we strengthen the bonds of human solidarity and strike at the root cause of violence, war and division.This helps create understanding, which can lead to true friendship. Recognizing the blessings of our diverse gifts and creating personal bonds with one another help to create the peaceful world that we all desire.
God, we thank you for creating the human family with all its wonderful diversity. Please forgive us for all the times when we have let our differences divide us from one another and from you. Bless us with open and respectful hearts, to share and listen to each other’s stories. Lead us to understanding and solidarity, appreciation and friendship.
July 30 - World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
On July 30 every year, the United Nations promotes World Day Against Trafficking Persons.Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. The definition of human trafficking is:
-Sex trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; (and)
-Labor trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to subject victims to engage in commercial sex or forced labor. Anyone can be a victim of trafficking anywhere. However, the poor people, refugees and asylum seekers are especially vulnerable. We all need to be alert to signs of trafficking and report it to proper authorities. In many countries, “hot lines” are available for reporting suspected trafficking.
Holy One, we pray for an end to human trafficking. Give hope, courage and help to those caught in the snare of traffickers. Help them to seek and find a safe way out, so that they can live in freedom and security. Change the hearts of those who enslave others against their wills. Help them to see the dignity and humanity of every person and to reject coercion, violence and exploitation of the most vulnerable among us. Open our eyes to see, report and reach out to those being trafficked. Fill us with courage and compassion for those suffering from modern-day slavery.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of June, 2019
June 5—World Environment Day
Celebrated in 100 countries, the UN’s World Environment Day calls all citizens of the world to raise awareness about the care of Earth. Further, it is a day to foster action to protect the environment. Earth is our mother. She sustains and protects us and all life on our planet. This year, China will host the World Environment Celebrations on June 5th—the theme is air pollution. The main events will be held in Hangzhou, in the province of Zhejiang. China was chosen to host the events because of the great strides they have made over the last 20 years in reducing air pollution in Beijing. In a recently published report, they outlined the efforts they made that yielded these results. With their growing green energy sector, China has become a leader in addressing climate change. The gathering will showcase renewable energy and green technologies aimed at improving air quality in cities and regions around the world.
Air Pollution facts:
- 92 per cent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air
- Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs
- Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030
- Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution
Holy One, we lift our voices to you in praise for the wonders of creation. We thank you, especially, for the air we breathe. Inspire us to action on behalf of Mother Earth and Sister Air. We know that this is a critical time during which we must lower CO2 emissions and toxic chemicals in the air. Now is also the time for increasing green spaces, protecting plants and trees that provide us with oxygen, and ending the use of fossil fuels. Help us to change our lives so that we and future generations can live healthy and sustainable lives.
June 8—World Oceans Day
Oceans cover about two thirds of the earth’s surface. Oceans provide us with food, medicine, and most of the oxygen we breathe. The oceans are also critical to maintaining the Earth’s temperatures, including seasonal changes and its rain cycles. This year everyone is being encouraged to “Wear Blue, Tell Two”. In addition to wearing something blue on that day, we are to share two facts that we have learned about Earth’s oceans with someone else.
One of the largest threats to our oceans is global climate change. Oceans are warming at an alarming rate and this can severely alter ocean currents, causing abnormal flood and draught cycles as well as increasing the rate of global warming. Plastic pollution in the oceans has also reached a critical level, killing fish, ocean mammals, and sea birds. As long as plastic production continues, pollution of the world’s oceans will increase, since plastic never disappears from the environment. It merely breaks down into smaller and smaller particles. Elimination of single use plastics and recycling of plastics needs to become a universal priority.
This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is “Gender and the Ocean”. This theme provides an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean. On this day the UN will strive to build greater ocean and gender literacy and discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labor at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, policy-making and management.
Creator of life, we thank you for the oceans that team with life, regulate earth’s climate, inspire us with beauty and power, and sustain all living creatures. Open our hearts with a growing appreciation of how oceans affect all of us. Help us to care for the oceans by making sustainable living choices each day so that life can continue to flourish for generations to come.
June 12—World Day Against Child Labor
World Day Against Child Labor aims to accelerate action to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.8 of safe and secure working environments for all workers by 2030 and SDG target 8.7 of ending all forms of child labor by 2025. It is said that “children should not work in fields, but on dreams.” And yet, over 150 million children in the world work in nearly all economic sectors, with over 70% working in agriculture. Most of these child laborers work in unsafe conditions, for little or no pay. Such practices rob children of their childhood—socialization, playing, going to school, getting adequate sleep and nutrition, and developing a sense of being loved and protected in a stable environment. The UN has made the protection of children from exploitation and child labor a top priority.
God, we ask you to bless all children around the world. Protect them from exploitation, abuse and fear. Give us the courage to step in whenever we know of a child being abused or neglected. Inspire people everywhere to cherish children, providing them with safety, caring, love, and compassion. May we provide them with education, nutrition, and stability, so that they may develop their full potential.
June 17—World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) will be celebrated worldwide on the 17th of June. This day calls our attention to the rapidly expanding areas of drought across our planet. This is a result of climate change, poor farming methods, deforestation and resulting erosion, and ozone destruction exposing agricultural lands to increased drying effects of the sun. This year’s theme is: “25 Years—Let’s Grow the Future Together!” UN events will take place in Ankara, Turkey. They will promote sustainable land management, as well as celebrate the 25 years of progress toward achieving land degradation neutrality. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares that “we are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. Specifically, Goal 15 states our resolve to halt and reverse land degradation.
Mother/Father God, we thank you for Mother Earth who sustains our lives. Help us to protect the land on which we grow our crops. Help us to treat agricultural land with respect, using sustainable, non-toxic methods to promote growth of the food that nourishes us. Expand our consciousness so that we conserve groundwater as much as possible. Help us to restore and protect native grasslands and woodlands that protect our lands from flooding that washes away topsoil and soil nutrients. Thank you for all the blessings of the land, the holy ground on which we live.
June 20—World Refugee Day
The world refugee crisis continues to worsen as millions of people flee their home countries to escape violence, war, hunger and fear. In recent years, climate change refugees have had to relocate because their home communities have been inundated with sea water as sea levels rise. Many refugees leave their homes with virtually nothing as they “run for their lives”. Refugees can spend months or years in refugee camps that are unsafe, unsanitary, and overcrowded, as they await processing. They have little say as to what country they will eventually be resettled in. When they get there, most do not know the language of the receiving country and are often met with hostility and suspicion. On World Refugee Day we are all called to reach out to refugees in our communities, offering whatever support we can to ease their resettlement. All of us can do something—teaching them language, helping those in need to find a job, assisting children in registering for school and vaccinations, helping collect clothes or household items that refugees will need in their new homes or apartments. Most of all, we can offer our friendship, respect and welcome!
God, we ask you to protect all people who have to flee their homes in order to survive. Bless them on their dangerous journeys to safety. Once they make their way to our countries, help us to welcome them with open arms and open hearts. Move us to respond with respect and love to each refugee in our midst. Also, help us to work for just immigration and asylum policies in our own countries so that human rights are respected and international laws regarding refugees are enforced.
June 26—International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture
Torture is an immoral act because it violates the dignity of the human person and caused irreparable harm to those who suffer torture. Torture attempts to deny the humanity of the victim, but in reality, it also robs the torturer of his/her humanity. On the International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture, the UN invites all of us to stand in solidarity with the thousands of victims of torture. Together, we join with people around the world to say “No” to torture and to actively reject any and all attempts to justify torture. Under international law, torture is never allowed under any circumstances. It cannot be justified even as a measure of last resort. Those guilty of torturing others must be prosecuted and those who suffer torture have a right to redress and compensation, including medical and psychological care. We must not send torture victims back to receive further torture. Instead, our asylum processes must find ways of eliciting the stories of torture from asylum claimants in ways that respect their experience and their difficulty in articulating what has happened to them.
God, prevent human beings everywhere from torture. Give us compassion, so that when we look into the eyes of another person we will see a brother or sister with the same feelings, hopes, dreams and needs as we have. Protect us as we call on governments around the world to reject all forms of torture, and all attempts to justify it. Let our hearts grow in compassion and respect for human dignity.