Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of July, 2017
July 11—World Population Day
June 11th, World Population Day, seeks to raise awareness of issues around world population. As the world’s population increases, it is urgently important that all people use global resources wisely and responsibly. By the end of April 2017, the world was home to over 7.5 billion people. Food and fresh water resources are presently adequate to care for the needs of all of us, but distribution and use of resources is uneven and unjust. All of us working together can ensure that our planet continues to flourish if we learn to live in harmony, peace and respect for all creation.
For more information click on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population
God, we thank you for the gift of life on this wonderful planet Earth. We recognize that human life is only one element of creation, and that we are a part of the intricate web of life that reveals your divine presence. Help us to tread lightly on this earth, respecting one another, caring for all creatures great and small, and praising you night and day!
July 18—Birthday of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1928 in Mvezo, to the Thembu royal family. Educated as a lawyer, Mandela joined the struggle against apartheid in 1943. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1962 for conspiring to overthrow the state. He served 27 years in prison, eventually being released in 1990. In 1994, he was elected as the first black head of state in the first fully participative democratic election held in S Africa. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalized racism and fostering racial reconciliation. His dedication to non-violent resistance to injustice has become a world-wide inspiration to many still struggling for human rights and freedom.
Let us pray for courage as we face the injustices of our day. May we learn from the non-violent resistance of Nelson Mandela that we can transform society without armed revolution. Like Jesus, may we overcome hatred with love, evil with goodness and despair with hope.
July 30—International Day of Friendship
The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.
When greed supersedes concerns about the health of our planet or its inhabitants, when fanatic attachment to ideology is pursued at all costs, and when people suffer human rights violations because they are considered somehow less than equal, the heritage of humanity is betrayed and our future wellbeing is placed in peril [...] On this International Day of Friendship, let us resolve to cherish and cultivate as many warm relationships as possible, enriching our own lives and enhancing the future.
God, we thank you for bringing us together across the world, joined in friendship, solidarity and hope, to create a future of peace for all. Help us to reach out to one another across religious, ethnic, racial and cultural differences so that we may realize our shared hopes, dreams and aspirations. May we always recognize each other as brothers and sisters to one another.
July 30—World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
On July 30th every year, the United Nations (UN) promotes World Day Against Trafficking Persons. The UN estimates that at least 2.5 million people are victims of this form of modern day slavery. Almost a third of human trafficking victims worldwide are children. According to a 2016 UN report, women and girls tend to be trafficked for marriages and sexual slavery, while men and boys are typically exploited for forced labor in the mining sector, as porters, and as soldiers. It also states that refugees from war and persecution are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking. This form of human rights violation is found in every country. Growth in awareness and reporting of suspicions are needed in order to put an end to this scourge.
We pray for all those affected by human trafficking. May victims be comforted and restored to full freedom. May those who exploit others by force have their hearts opened and changed. May those who “benefit” from the suffering of others be overcome with remorse and regret, free those in bondage and help those in desperation. May all of us keep alert to signs of human trafficking and have the courage to report our concerns.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of June, 2017
June 5—World Environment Day
On June 5th, people across the world will be celebrating World Environment Day, mobilizing to protect the global environment that sustains life on our fragile planet. The day calls on all of us to take responsibility to act in ways large and small to protect our environment. This year’s theme is “Connecting People With Nature”. Let us each spend some time in nature, enjoying the warmth of the sun, the rain, all creatures great and small who share this planet with us, soil and water, wind and clouds.
For more information click on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Environment_Day
Holy One, we praise you for the wonder of your being, revealed to us every day in nature. We thank you for this precious planet where we live and for all the creatures who share it with us. Help us to protect Earth our common home and to live each day with gratitude.
June 8—World Oceans Day
This day honors the world’s oceans and their life-sustaining role. The theme, “Ours Oceans, Our Future” reflects the crucial role that oceans play in our lives. The day provides an opportunity to get directly involved in protecting our future, through a new mindset and personal and community action and involvement – beach cleanups, educational programs, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events, and other planned activities. Not only do oceans provide us with food, oxygen and medicine, the ocean currents, greatly affected by ocean temperatures, regulate earth’s seasons and weather patterns. A Dutch project recently raised $21.7 million to help develop and test cleanup technology to rid the oceans of plastic pollution. This is one of many efforts to protect our oceans.
Creator of life, we thank you for the seas that team with life, determine our weather and usher in our seasons. Help us to use the gifts of the sea with respect for sustainability. Help us to grow in awareness of how our daily choices can affect the oceans and change our hearts so that we can change our lives.
June 12—World Day Against Child Labor
This day is dedicated to the prevention of using children for military service or economic labor. Childhood is a sacred time of life for acquiring knowledge, learning skills and growing physically, unencumbered by adult responsibilities. Child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. The unacceptable reality is that millions of children around the world, some as young as five, are still working for their survival and for that of their families. There is an obvious link between child labor and lack of education and poverty. In order to end extreme poverty (one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals), children must be free to learn, play, grow and develop their gifts and talents to the fullest extent possible.
For more information go to: http://www.unric.org/en/latest-un-buzz/29803-qno-to-child-labour-yes-to-educationq-un-observes-world-day-again
God, we ask your blessing and protection for children throughout the world. Keep them safe, help them to know that they are loved, and support them with food, shelter, and all they need to develop to their fullest potential. Make us aware of how some children are exploited and give us the courage to act against it whenever we encounter it.
June 17—World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
This day calls our attention to the rapidly expanding areas of drought across our planet due to climate change. Desertification is not only a consequence of the loss of surface water, but the depletion of underground aquafers leading to further losses of fresh water sources. In December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The assembly acknowledged that desertification and drought were global problems because they affected all regions of the world. The assembly also realized that joint action by the international community was needed to combat desertification and drought, particularly in Africa.
God, we thank you for Earth, our Mother, who sustains us. Help us to make changes in our lives in order to preserve water and protect it from pollution. We commit ourselves to make whatever changes are needed to stabilize our climate and reduce global warming which is leading to desertification and drought.
June 20—World Refugee Day
With millions of people displaced around the world due to famine, climate change, war and terrorism, the global refugee situation is worse than at any time since World War II. World Refugee Day is dedicated to raising awareness about the needs of refugees around the world. Many fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs and cannot return without facing almost certain death. Many live in refugee camps near borders they cannot cross. This day is a time to pause and consider how each of us can reach out to refugees in our midst and how we can pressure our governments to open our countries to receive those desperate for safety and a new beginning. In 2016, the UN estimated that over 60 million refugees have fled their home countries.
God, we pray for the safety of refugees throughout the world. Protect them from harm and open our hearts so that we actively welcome those in need into our own countries and homes. Help us to reach out in love and respect, realizing that we have much to learn from those who come to our shores.
June 26—International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture
June 26th has been set aside by the UN to remind us all that torture is not only immoral it is a crime. It gives us all the opportunity to raise our voices in solidarity to declare that torture is not acceptable, no matter who may try to justify its use. We, the citizens of the world, reject torture, declaring that there is no justification for its use and must be declared universally illegal. Torture denies the inherent dignity of every human person and violates international law. We call on all governments to abide by this law and to bring to justice those who engage in torture.
In his address to mark the 2011 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summed up the continuing struggle:
"Torture and other forms of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment and punishment, wherever they occur and whatever the circumstances, can never be justified. States must take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under their jurisdiction."
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.
For more information go to: http://www.earthtimes.org/politics/un-international-day-support-victims-torture-26thjune/2056/