Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of December, 2018
December 1, 2018 marks the 30th global World AIDS Day, to raise awareness about the continued epidemic, to unite together against the virus, to commemorate those who have died and to show support for the over 34 million people currently living with HIV worldwide. The red ribbon is worn by people all over the world as a symbol of awareness and support of people living with HIV and AIDS. It was created when HIV was highly stigmatized, and the suffering of communities and individuals living with HIV remained largely hidden. This symbol helped bring HIV into the public consciousness and has led to better medical care, less discrimination against those living with the virus, increased support for those working to find a cure, widespread prevention education and voluntary testing programs, and a recognition that HIV ultimately affects us all. As we continue to support treatment, prevention and testing efforts, may all of us continue to reach out to those infected and affected, that they may experience with love, dignity and hope.
Holy One, bless all those who suffer due to HIV and AIDS. Help us to reach out to them and to show them that they are not alone. May we offer our love and support in whatever ways we can. Bless those who are working hard to find a means of prevention and cure. Bless those who dedicate themselves to education and HIV testing so that the spread of the virus can be stopped and early treatment can help people live healthy and productive lives. We pray for a world free from HIV/AIDS.
December 3—International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 3 is a day for raising awareness of, and helping to create real opportunities for, people living with disabilities. This year’s theme is: Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. Unfortunately, in many places in the world people with disabilities are shunned and excluded from participating in civil society. Even when not overtly shunned, those who are physically limited often face barriers to their participation. Society limits itself whenever any member of society cannot participate to his or her fullest potential. This day calls all of us to listen to persons with disabilities, to see what limits them and how we can improve their participation. People with disabilities face negative stereotypes, difficulty communicating, and physical, social and other barriers that prevent them from learning, living, working, and playing in their communities. Together, we can create inclusive communities where people with disabilities can be healthy and lead full, active lives.
God, we thank you for health, life and love. We know that while each of us has limitations, some people with physical disabilities struggle daily to participate in even the ordinary activities of life. Help each of us to listen to our disabled brothers and sisters, so that we can all become more aware of their needs. Open our heart to respond generously so that we can remove barriers to participation whenever we become aware of them. Bless us with growth in awareness so that we can all work together for the common good.
December 9—International Anti-corruption Day
Corruption involves an abuse of entrusted power by dishonest or unethical conduct that leads to personal gain. It takes many forms: intimidation, especially of those without power, in order to hold onto power; bribery; corruption of the electoral systems; silencing of whistle blowers; lawbreaking without having to face consequences because of one’s power position within the community; etc. It undermines social and economic development. Corruption affects all countries of the world, undermining moral integrity and destroying honesty and loyalty. This day calls people around the world to reject corruption wherever it is found in their communities. By making this way of acting unacceptable, and by refusing to cooperate with corruption, ordinary people can again begin to take control of their lives and to build a society of integrity and justice.
Lord, help us to create just societies where every person is equal under the law and where each person’s dignity and safety is protected by just laws. Help us to confront corruption and give us the courage to refuse to participate in it. Let us each work for the common good, so that all may be able to live in freedom.
December 10—Human Rights Day
This day marks the culmination of a year-long celebration in the 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document powerfully declared that all persons, by virtue of their inherent human dignity, have certain rights and freedoms, including a right to education, a decent living, health care and a right to live free from any form of discrimination. This declaration of human rights was built on what were recognized as universal human values, to be honored by all nations. Although we are still far from realizing the ideals set forth in this declaration, it still stands as a beacon guiding all nations towards peace with justice based on its principles. The very existence of this document calls all of us to strive for its fulfillment. It also demands that we constantly re-examine ourselves and our national and international structures and priorities to see how to move forward in a way that better embodies the hopes and aspirations expressed therein.
We pray for all people of the world. May all of us respect and support one another, realizing that we are all brothers and sisters. Help us to honor and safeguard the dignity and freedom of every person. May we work every day to protect and cherish the rights and freedoms that we have and that all of us desire. Give us the insight and wisdom to move forward each day on the path of peace with justice.
December 18—International Migrants Day
On December 18, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. Migrants often flee their own countries in a desperate search for safety and a way to feed their families. For the most part, they seek stability, safe from fear and intimidation, shelter, food, water and a future of hope. Although they frequently face many obstacles when they settle in a new country, they also contribute culturally, economically and socially to their host country. Globally, migration has become a growing problem, due to wars, drug and gang violence, political oppression, drought and flooding due to climate change, and religious persecution. Rather than welcoming the stranger, many countries have retreated into a globally rising nationalism that demonizes migrants as “the other”, stoking fear, mistrust and hatred leading to violence. International Migrants Day serves to celebrate the movement of migrants and their contribution to world development. Globalization has made the world a much smaller place than it previously was. Humans have always migrated but now they do so much faster and much further, many of whom risk their lives trying to reach a safer land with more opportunities. On this day, we are called to join together to protect the rights of migrants, helping them in their journey and to settle in their new countries in order to find hope and peace.
Holy One, we pray for your protection and blessing on migrants throughout the world. Keep them safe from exploitation and abuse. Help them to find the work, housing, nutrition and healthcare that they need to support themselves and their families. Help us to open our hearts and our homes to welcome the stranger in our midst, in whatever ways we can. Give hope to those who feel lost and hopeless. Give joy to the sorrowing and security to the vulnerable. Most of all, make me a channel of your peace, understanding and love.
December 20—International Human Solidarity Day
International Human Solidarity Day is a day dedicated to celebrating unity in diversity. Solidarity is one of the fundamental human values and it is what underpins all international cooperation. At a time when climate change threatens to destroy our planet as a place suitable for human habitation, solidarity is essential, since we are all in this together. This example of climate change has opened our eyes in a new way to the power of solidarity. Solidarity among grassroots people also recently brought about the signing of the international agreement outlawing nuclear weapons. Even though no nuclear nations signed on to this agreement, it was supported by 191 other nations, showing that solidarity on this issue will eventually be successful at bringing about an end to nuclear weapons. When the people of the world stand united, we can accomplish great things.
International Human Solidarity Day is:
- a day to celebrate our unity in diversity
- a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements
- a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity
God, we ask that you bless all your people throughout the world in their desire for justice, peace, freedom and protection of the environment. Inspire us as we listen deeply to one another and build solidarity among us so that together we can face the many challenges of our global community.
In this Season of Peace, may we dedicate ourselves anew
to peace, solidarity, justice, compassion and love.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of November, 2018
November 10—World Science Day for Peace and Development
The purpose of the World Science Day for Peace and Development is to remember the contributions made by science to peace and sustainable development around the world. Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si that we are beneficiaries of tremendous advances in science and technology. This has given us a wonderful ability to address the challenges of climate change, world hunger, prevention and treatment of diseases, and improving the quality of human life. But he also reminds us that “any technical solution which science claims to offer will be powerless to solve the serious problems of our world if humanity loses its compass, if we lose sight of the great motivations which make it possible for us to live in harmony and to make sacrifices and to treat others well.” (Laudato Si: #200) The 2018 Theme: Science, A Human Right, underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable. The theme also emphasizes that everyone has the right to benefit from the advances of science.
We pray for those who devote themselves to scientific research for the common good of all. In our efforts to improve the quality of life, may we be equally dedicated to restoring and protecting the harmony of nature through a commitment to sustainable development. Help us to use science to advance justice and peace and to promote healing and hope for ourselves and our planet.
November 20—Universal Children’s Day
On November 20, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Declaration Of the Rights Of the Child, a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The theme for 2018 is: Children are taking over and turning the world blue! The emphasis is on making the world safe for children so that each child can reach his/her full potential. On this day, everyone is asked to wear blue to bring awareness that children are the hope for our planet. The gifts of each child need to be nurtured
and challenged so that each one can contribute to maintaining our blue planet for the future. The children of today will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. This day is dedicated to teaching, nurturing and blessing all children so that they can grow in wisdom, health, happiness and awareness.
Let us pray for the children of the world. May they be blessed with love so that they will grow strong in body, mind and spirit as they live each day. Protect them from violence, war, fear and hunger. Help each of us to care for and inspire the children in our lives so that they can be all that you call them to be. Let our lives be examples of caring, compassion and love so that we inspire the next generation to greatness.
November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. Violence against women is the most extreme form of discrimination and is deeply rooted in patriarchal attitudes and deeply ingrained social norms. Awareness campaigns naming the specific ways that women and girls suffer violence and calling for an end to all such violence requires adequate funding and involvement of all elements of civil society. A unified voice among religious and civic leaders, police, lawyers and courts, tribal leaders, teachers and healthcare providers is needed in order to transform the plight of women and girls. We urge all of us to wear orange on that day to call attention to the global effort to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
Holy One, you have created all people in your image. Each of us carries within us the divine spark of life. We ask you to bless all women and girls as they journey through life. Protect them from violence in all its forms. Open the hearts of men and women everywhere so that all may come to realize that we are one in you, that we are all created as reflections of your divine goodness. Help us to open ourselves to love, respect, care for and protect one another—no matter what the cost. Never let us be complacent in the face of violence. Shake us up until we awaken to your spirit and act in love.
November 29—International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
On November 29, 1947 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. This resolution called for the partitioning of Palestine into two states—Israel and Palestine. Unfortunately, today only the state of Israel exists. Currently, 0ver 8 million Palestinians live in the “Palestinian Territories” occupied and controlled by the Israelis since 1967. This day seeks to call attention to the urgent need for a formal creation and recognition of a state of Palestine, with the right to self-determination, access to their ancestral lands from which they are now separated by walls and the Israeli army. It also calls attention to the continued building of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which have raised resentments among Palestinians and increased the security risks to Israelis. This never-ending cycle of violence and distrust has continued to escalate, and no meaningful conversation or dialogue is taking place at the present time. This day calls all sides to come together to work out a solution that respects the rights of all people in the region, provides for their safety and seeks to heal the wounds and distrusts created over many decades of failed promises. We cannot undo the past, but it is hoped that together we can build a brighter future.
Let us pray for the Palestinian people who long for self-determination and freedom. May Palestinians and Israelis begin to see each other as human beings, brother and sisters who have both suffered horrible injustices in the past and who now have the ability to ensure that each can live in peace and prosperity. Help all 0f us to work for peace through mutual respect and courageous dialogue. Holy One, help us to begin to build the future we wish for so that future generations can live in peace.