Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of December, 2017
December 1—World AIDS Day
December 1, 2017 marks the 29th global World AIDS Day, to raise awareness about the continued epidemic affecting over 34 million people currently living with HIV worldwide. Since the disease was first recognized in 1981, over 35 million people have died from AIDS. Stigma and discrimination continue to affect those living with HIV/AIDS in many parts of the world. Although great advances have been made in combatting the virus causing AIDS, there is still no cure. This is a day to learn the facts about AIDS and to put those learnings into action. Let us reach out to those affected and infected, so that their human dignity is respected and protected. Let us take time today to remember the many family members, friends and loved ones who have died. Most of all, let us continue to provide the resources that are needed, not only to care for people living with HIV, but to find a cure.
We pray for researchers and caregivers that they will continue to work to find a cure for HIV/AIDS and will continue to treat those infected and affected with love and compassion. We pray for those living with HIV/AIDS, that they may experience the compassion of others, and that they may continue to live healthy and happy lives, despite their illness. We pray that each of us dedicate ourselves to AIDS prevention and education so that our world will one day be HIV free.
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 with disabilities. This year’s theme is: “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. There are approximately one billion people worldwide living with disabilities. This day aims at recognizing their gifts and capacities and supporting them in setting their own priorities. This involves investing in people – in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection. People with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, education, and social and political participation. Full integration and participation in society means removing barriers and ensuring accessibility in all areas of life. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in 2006, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 further advance the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
Holy one, we praise you for the many gifts that you give us each day and we recognize that each of us has a contribution to make to life on this planet. We also recognize that we all have limitations of one kind or another. Help us to recognize structures and situations that may exclude others so that we can make changes that enhance the fullest participation possible. Let us hear the needs of those living with disabilities, by listening with open hearts. Inspire us all to act together for the good of all.
December 9—International Anti-Corruption Day
Corruption involves an abuse of entrusted power by dishonest or unethical conduct that leads to personal gain. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption was passed in 2009. The convention recognizes corruption as a crime that undermines social and economic development. It occurs in both rich and poor countries and disproportionately affects the poorest people. The UN realizes that it is impossible to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals unless corruption is eliminated from both governmental, non-governmental, judicial, educational, healthcare and business organizations. Transparency in the allocation and use of public funds is a good first step in putting an end to corruption. Education so that all social participants refuse to co-operate with corruption, as well as putting systems in place to protect those who report corruption, will also help to stop these practices.
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.
December 10—Human Rights Day
This day marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, culminating in the 70th anniversary in 2018. This document proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person as the foundation for a more just world. This declaration enshrined the values of equality, justice and human dignity as universal values for all nations. Although not yet fully realized, these principles have stood the test of time and continue to serve as the international standard against which progress is measured. This is a day to encourage people around the world to learn about their human rights and to courageously take action to create a society that respects and honors human rights.
We pray for all oppressed people around the world, realizing that we are all united as one human family. We ask blessing on all our brothers and sisters, so that all may live in peace, without fear, and in harmony with one another and with creation. We pray that our hearts will be welcoming and compassionate. May all human beings have access to the basic resources that they need to live, freedom to develop their gifts to the full, and freedom from fear, oppression and intimidation.
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. Economic migration has been increasing in recent years as poor people move away from their traditional home areas in search of work and a means to support themselves and their families. Corruption has led to economic collapse in some countries of the world. In other cases, climate change has led to flooding or desertification, displacing many families. The UN invited all UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to observe this day by disseminating information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of migrants. This day is also a time to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries. There are many complex factors contributing to migration, which greatly impacts the countries of origin, the countries of transit and the destination countries. Understanding these factors and cooperatively addressing some of these issues are needed to craft solutions that are just.
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. Since 2005, this day has been a day to remind people about the important role that solidarity plays in realization of all international agreements and programs. According to the UN General Assembly resolution, solidarity is one of the fundamental values of all humankind and it should be the basis of all modern international relations. Only solidarity can help people overcome global problems. The Paris Climate Agreement is a good example of an international global effort that resulted from many years of growing solidarity among people the world over calling for governments to face the crisis of climate change through action.
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.
May the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today,
Bless us all with compassion, joy, peace and love.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of November, 2017
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. This day reminds us how essential scientific research and implementation are to humankind’s ability to successfully meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN in September 2015.
Unfortunately, science can and often has been used to promote violence and war on an ever more devastating scale in the past 100 years. This day is a time to urge nations and governments to implement scientific advances for the preservation of the environment through sustainable agriculture, development of clean and renewable energy sources, protection for and efficient use of fresh water sources, and equitable production and distribution of food globally, especially to those most in need. International sharing of emerging technologies is an essential component of international peace and cooperation.
We pray for researchers and scientific developers, that their efforts be directed to serving the common good. May we willingly share new discoveries, for the good of the environment, for the good of all humanity and for international peace and cooperation. We pray for a sustainable future for all of us as we journey into the future with hope.
November 20—Universal Children’s Day
Universal Children’s Day was established as a day to celebrate childhood and to discuss and address issues important to the wellbeing of children. 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 UN recently reported that there are about 2 million children trafficked worldwide. It also reported that globally one in ten children are subject to child labor. At least 51% of today’s nearly 40 million refugees are children. Of the estimated 815 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, over half are children. Access to education in many countries is still inaccessible to rural and poor children. Domestic violence, as well as the violence of war, robs millions of children of their childhood and subjects them to fear, insecurity and loss of hope. On Universal Children’s Day let us work to protect the rights of children. Let us recognize the human rights and dignity of all children and act on their behalf to make life safer, so that each child can reach his/her full potential.
Let us pray for the children of the world, that they be protected from physical and psychological trauma, provided with safety, food and shelter, offered affirmation and love, and lifted from grief and despair to joy and hope. God, bless each child on earth with the knowledge that they are loved so that they can grow and develop fully and extend that love to others.
November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
This day seeks to raise awareness about violence against women and to actively work to end such violence. Much of this violence stems from cultural norms that often view women as inferior human beings. It is estimated that violence against women affects one of every three women at some point in her lifetime. Because it is often hidden, violence against women, as a human rights violation, needs to be brought into the light of day in order to be condemned and eliminated. The ultimate goal of this day is to end violence against women and achieve gender equality through the empowerment of women. 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, we ask you to strengthen and comfort all women who suffer from sexual, psychological or physical violence. Make us all aware of these, our sisters, so that we will not be silent nor turn a deaf ear to their suffering. May we join with one another in speaking and working for justice and gender equality. Help us to educate men and boys to respect, love and cherish their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and all women as equals in caring for one another and our planet. May each of us commit ourselves to creating a just world where each life is sacred and where every person proclaims that “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.”
November 29—International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
This date of November 29th was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On that day in 1947, the 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. So far, only the state of Israel exists. The people in the Palestinian territories have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967, and Israel continues to build settlements in the Palestinian territories. The International Day of Solidarity has traditionally provided an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly. These rights include the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced. The UN continues its commitment to bring about a just peace in the region that protects and acknowledges the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let us pray for the Palestinian people who long for self-determination and freedom. May Palestinians and Israelis meet and work together to build understanding and trust, after many decades of distrust and violence. May they seek to understand one another’s needs and build bridges of understanding rather than walls of separation. God, inspire all nations to promote dialogue and respect as the basis for peace.