Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of June, 2018
June 5—World Environment Day
World Environment Day is the UN's most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. The theme for 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution: If You Can’t Reuse It, Refuse It”. It is the same theme as this year’s Earth Day in April. This day reminds us that we can all do something to lessen plastic use, especially single use plastic which is symbolic of what Pope Francis calls our “throw away culture”. People are being mobilized worldwide to demand the end of single use plastic, plastic production and micro plastic use in cosmetics and many other products. Although plastics will eventually break down into micro plastics, they are not biodegradable and persist in the environment. They are responsible for the deaths of countless animals, particularly sea animals, who often mistake plastics for food. This year let us commit ourselves to lessening our use of plastics wherever and whenever we can. Simple measures such as using cloth bags instead of plastic ones, eliminating the use of straws and plastic cups, recycling plastics when possible, and encouraging product manufacturers to package their products in non-plastic containers will significantly reduce plastic pollution.
Creator God, we thank you for the wonders of creation. Nature’s beauty feeds our souls and calls us to treasure all that you have made. Help us to appreciate the environment and to care for Earth, our common home. Inspire us in our efforts to restore the health and balance within nature by being good stewards of the gifts with which you have blessed us.
June 8—World Oceans Day
Oceans cover about two thirds of the earth’s surface. Oceans are a critical part of earth’s biosphere and an essential element for food, security and life survival on the earth. The 2018 theme is “Take Action Against Plastic Pollution”.
World Oceans Day allows us to:
- Change perspective – encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and future generations.
- Learn – discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.
- Change our ways – we are all linked to, and through, the ocean! By taking care of your backyard and helping in your community, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will make a difference, and involving your family, friends, and community will benefit our blue planet even more!
- Celebrate – whether you live inland or on the coast, we are all connected to the ocean. Take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our ocean.
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. Achieving these goals for the benefit of the next generation requires a concerted and integrated approach to eliminating child labor and promoting a culture that ensures that occupational health and safety standards are met.
All workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. Young workers (15-24 years old) suffer up to a 40 per cent higher rate of non-fatal occupational injuries than adult workers above the age of 25. In addition to injuries, the workplace hazards they face often put their health and very lives at risk. Children have the right to be protected from all forms of child labor, including hazardous work, which affects 73 million children worldwide. Child labor robs children of education, safety, health and their right to protection against exploitation. It robs them of their childhood itself!
Holy One, we ask you to protect all children from labor exploitation of all kinds. Help us to treat one another with respect and to honor the dignity of every human being, especially the children who depend on us for food, shelter, love and safety. Help us as we work tirelessly to promote the educational, physical and emotional wellbeing of children so that every child can develop fully into productive and caring citizens of the world.
June 17—World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
This day calls our attention to the rapidly expanding areas of drought across our planet. This year’s theme is: “Land has true value—invest in it!” Poor farming methods in many parts of the globe have robbed the soil of nutrients, turning once rich farmland into arid wastelands. Climate change is currently prolonging dry seasons and delaying the onset of rainy seasons in many agricultural countries, resulting in very short growing seasons, often insufficient for adequate food production. Deforestation of large woodland biomes has changed rainfall patterns, and has left the soil unprotected from soil erosion by wind and rain. Ozone layer destruction has contributed to desertification by over-exposing the land to relentless drying from the sun. World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) will be celebrated worldwide on the 17th of June with the focus on sustainable land management as a way to regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize communities. Under the slogan “Land has true value – Invest in it,” WDCD 2018 will call all involved – producers, consumers and policy makers – to make a difference by investing in the future of land. These efforts, together with global efforts to address climate change, bring hope for the future of our planet.
Mother/Father God, we thank you for Mother Earth who sustains our lives. Help each of us to do our part to protect Earth by making the necessary life-style changes to reduce climate change, to conserve water and to live in a sustainable way that respects our planet.
June 20—World Refugee Day
Our world is facing a global refugee crisis on a scale not seen since World War II. War, violence, religious persecution, desperate economic conditions and climate change have driven millions of people from their homelands. Longing to find food, shelter and safetly, many of these refugees are greeted with suspicion, hostility and rejection instead. World Refugee Day is a day to raise awareness of the plight of refugees. It is a day to respond in love to the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world who have been forced to flee their homes in order to survive. It is a day to reach out to the refugees among us who are in need and to offer them hope, compassion, welcome and love.
God, we ask that you protect the millions of refugees around the world who have suffered so much that they have had to flee their homelands in order to survive. Open our hearts and our hands as we reach out to the refugees in our midst. Let us not turn away, but rather, inspire us to look each other in the eyes and respond in love. Help us all to learn from one another.
June 26—International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture
This day is dedicated to all who have endured unspeakable and unimaginable torture. It is a day that calls all citizens of the world to find their voices and to raise a united cry of “No More Torture!” Torture denies the inherent dignity of the human person and is illegal under international law. Despite this, torture is a widespread practice around the world. With one voice, the people of the world need to condemn torture, and declare once and for
all that torture cannot ever be justified. Furthermore, those who have suffered torture have a right to have their cases brought forward so that those engaged in torture can be held accountable and so that victims can receive effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate social, psychological, medical and other forms of rehabilitation.
Holy One, you have made every person with an inherent dignity and sacredness. Teach us to treat each other with empathy, respect and compassion. Whenever we know of torture, disrespectful or inhumane treatment of others, may we raise our voices in protest and take action to stop it. Let us never condone torture by our silence. Give us the courage we need to stand up against torture and to demand an end to its use.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of May, 2018
May 1—International Workers’ Day
Often known as May Day, International Worker’s Day is celebrated on May 1st, an ancient European spring festival day. This day honors laborers and all members of the working class. The day was also chosen as a commemoration of the Haymarket Riots in Chicago on May 4, 1886 when 7 police and 4 civilians were killed and many more injured as laborers demonstrated for an 8-hour working day. The trade union and labour movements grew out of the reality of poor and dangerous working conditions, long hours worked with poor pay, and the reality that if a worker complained about hours or conditions he/she would be fired from the job without recourse. Since the late 1800’s, workers around the world have banded together in unions and other worker organizations so that they could work together to improve working conditions, pay, benefits such as healthcare and retirement payments, and the right to be paid for overtime work. Many of the laws protecting workers’ rights worldwide are a direct result of the efforts of trade unions and worker organizations.
Dear God, we thank you for the workers around the world who have stood up for their rights over the years to create a better world for themselves and their families. May each of us dedicate ourselves to protecting the rights of workers and all people seeking work. May we work hard to end all forms of forced, unpaid labor, which is a form of modern day slavery. Help us to recognize and report suspected human trafficking whenever we encounter it.
May 15—The 87th Anniversary of Quadragesimo Anno
On May 15, 1931, Pope Pius XI published his encyclical Quadreagesimo Anno on the 40th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. These two encyclicals address the emerging social realities of private property, the relationship between capital and labor, and the social order emerging out of the industrial revolution. Work is a human right by which human beings can support their families and contribute to the common good by using their talents and creativity as fully as possible. Capital is recognized as essential to flourishing economies, but the popes also recognized the importance of just compensation for labor, and labor’s role in the creation of capital. A just wage is a living wage, a wage adequate to sustain the worker and his/her family, by providing adequate food, shelter, education, and basic healthcare. Government is also seen as playing an important role in maintaining the common good by providing basic services to its people through taxation and redistribution of goods and services, as necessary for the overall wellbeing of society. Such cooperation between capital, labor and government still eludes us, but is an ideal worth striving for.
Let us pray for all of us, as we struggle to create a more just society. May those who labor be compensated, so that they can live in dignity and peace, without hunger, homelessness and despair. Inspire those who have much, to reach out to those in need, with generosity and love. Help us all to love and care for one another and for Earth.
May 21—Feast of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter
Memorial for Franz Jägerstätter in St. Radegund | photo by Sziklai
Franz Jägerstätter was a resister, who refused to participate in the evil of Nazi Germany. His conversion to Gospel non-violence as a young adult eventually led him to become a member of the Third Order of St Francis. Later, he married and was the sole supporter of his Mother, his wife and three daughters. As the Nazi threat grew in Germany, he came to realize the brutality and injustice of the Nazi leaders and refused to join the party. Later, when he was drafted into the German army he refused to serve even in a non-combat role, since even this would be a form of complicity with their goals. He was arrested, tried by a military court for undermining military morale, and executed on August 9, 1943 at the age of 33. Although many people, including Church leaders, tried to change his mind, Franz remained committed to peace, justice and non-violence in refusing military service.
Holy one, continue to inspire us to live Gospel non-violence no matter the cost. Fill us with courage to stand up against the forces of evil that use violence and intimidation for their own gain and power. Help us never to be silent in the face of injustice, but to speak out and stand up whenever and wherever we see suffering, violence, discrimination, hopelessness or despair.
May 22—International Day for Biological Diversity
On 22 May, 1992 the Nairobi conference on Biological Diversity agreed to adopt the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The convention was inspired by the world’s growing commitment to sustainable development. This year’s theme is Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity. Worldwide efforts to protect natural biomes and to preserve unique, diverse habitats throughout the world have been growing in recent years. Over the past 25 years great strides have been made to use conservation research to help humans understand how to live with nature in a sustainable way, thus ensuring the biological diversity necessary for the health of planet Earth. Although the extinction of species has slowed in the past 25 years, it is still occurring at alarming rates. Over 190 nations meet every 2 years to consider various aspects of biological diversity. Some of the past topics included: Marine and coastal biological diversity; Agricultural biodiversity; Inland water ecosystems; Dryland, mediterranean, arid, semi-arid, grassland and savannah ecosystems; Forest ecosystems; Alien species; Mountain ecosystems; Island biodiversity; Biological diversity of dry and sub-humid lands; Agricultural biodiversity; Global Strategy for Plant Conservation; Invasive alien species; Forest biodiversity.
God, you have blessed us in so many ways, especially with the many diverse gifts of your wondrous creation. Open our eyes and hearts to the greatness of creation and inspire us to respect and treasure all life on this living and breathing planet Earth.
May 24—Third Anniversary of Laudato Si: On the Care Of Our Common Home
Three years ago, Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si: On the Care Of Our Common Home. The Pope recognized the climate change crisis as the greatest threat facing the human race today. In Laudato Si he calls upon all of us to become aware of the many ways in which we live in a “throw-away culture” and to examine ways that we can change our lives and move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The encyclical also challenges each of us to actively engage global decision-makers to take action to preserve and protect our environment for now and future generations.
Holy One, you call us to live responsibly on this beautiful planet Earth which we call home. As we admire the beauty and wonder of all that surrounds us, never let us take our home for granted. Help us to be thankful every day for the great gifts of nature and move us to take radical action now, so that we and future generations will be able to live in harmony with nature and with each other.