Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of December, 2016
December 1—World AIDS Day
December 1, 2016 is the 28th annual World AIDS Day remembrance dedicated to raising global awareness about HIV/AIDS. It is a day to remember those who have died since the epidemic was recognized in 1981. It is also a time to stand in solidarity with the millions of people worldwide who have suffered unimaginable losses due to this pandemic. Most of all, it is a day to raise awareness that this illness continues to impact millions more each day. As we work toward education and prevention we also commit ourselves to finding a cure.
Let us pray for scientists throughout the world, that their efforts will be successful at finding a cure for AIDS. Let us also pray that we may respond generously to all those suffering with HIV/AIDS, their families and their communities. May we stand together in solidarity, love and compassion.
December 3—International Day of Persons with Disabilities
This year’s theme is: Achieving 17 goals for the future we want. The theme focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community in September 2015. This day challenges us all to look at how these goals need to include and empower those living with disabilities throughout the world. In many parts of the world, persons with disabilities are shunned and excluded from participation in family, society and sometimes even religious institutions. This day calls us to focus on the “Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” to ensure equal and full participation. http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml
Let us pray for the many disabled persons of the world, who seek to be full and equal participants in shaping the world’s future. May they be protected from physical and psychological harm, and may they be empowered to reach their full potential. May their lives be treasured, respected and cherished.
December 10—International Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December, the date when the United Nations General adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. It remains as relevant today as ever. http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/udhr60/declaration.shtml
This was the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. Dec. 10th is also the day that the Nobel Peace Prize is traditionally awarded. Poverty and war remain the two greatest threats to human rights in the world and the two are intimately linked to one another.
Let us pray for people around the world who suffer because of violations of their human rights. May each of us raise our voices whenever we witness human rights abuses, whether committed by individuals or government officials. May we have the courage to stand with our oppressed brothers and sisters, no matter what the cost.
December 18—International Migrants Day
Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. There is a clear linkage between migration and sustainable development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, that is, the concerted improvement of economic and social conditions at both origin and destination. Migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays. Mixed with elements of unforeseeability, emergency, and complexity, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions. Growing sentiment against migrants has been fueled in many places by economic stresses, racial and ethnic differences and fear of “the other”.
Let us pray for all those who have had to flee their homes because of war, violence, famine, natural disasters, extreme poverty or violence. May we willingly share what we have with those in need. May we open our hearts and our homes to welcome the stranger among us, so that we “stranger” can become “neighbor” and “friend.”
December 20—International Human Solidarity Day
This international observance was established 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 the global problems. International Human Solidarity Day, December 20, was founded by the United Nations to highlight the eradication of poverty and the promotion human and social development in developing countries, in particular among the poorest segments of their populations. Hear the inspiring words of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.
Let us pray for all those who are left behind in economic development: migrants, the unemployed, indigenous peoples, those with disabilities and so many others. God of compassion, Pope Francis challenges us to learn how to cry, to brave that pain, and so enter into true solidarity with your people.
With those who face hunger, who face war, who face exploitation, who face displacement, I stand in solidarity.
With those who face unjust discrimination, who face indifference, who face a lack of opportunity, who face a lack of health care, I stand in solidarity.
But in truth, I stand a little reluctantly. And I stand a little far off; detached and apart from the great human drama, lingering in the orchestra, even as you call me to the center stage. Lord, help me to look again at what has been done to your people, to their lives and to their dignity, so that slowly, and then more strongly, I will allow myself to cry. For it is only in those tears that we truly become one. My trepidations fall away and I step forward and stand anew. Teach me to cry. Amen.
– “The Tears of Solidarity” is a prayer by Catholic Relief Services is available at http://www.crs.org/resource-center/tears-solidarity
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of November, 2016
November 10—World Science Day for Peace and Development
The purpose of the World Science Day for Peace and Development is to renew the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. This day seeks to raise public awareness of the importance of science in attaining the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_Development_Goals) set forth by the UN in September 2015 and to bridge the gap between science and societies. It is also a day for promoting the sharing of scientific advances across borders for the benefit of the global community. This day emphasizes the need to “promote greater awareness among scientists and lay people worldwide of the usefulness of science to increase international peace, security, cooperation, the social and economic development of humankind, the promotion of human rights and the protection of the environment”. We call on governments to invest in scientific research that can support and enhance sustainable development.
Let us pray for scientists throughout the world, that their efforts will be directed toward creating a better life for people, protecting human rights and the environment, and improving the quality of life by promoting health and sustainability.
November 20—Universal Children’s Day
Universal Children’s Day was established to encourage all countries to institute a day to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's 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. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Rights_of_the_Child). This day is not just a time to celebrate children, but a day to bring awareness to children around the globe that have succumbed to violence in forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children are used as laborers in some countries, caught in the middle of armed conflicts, abandoned and living on the streets, and suffering due to differences in religion, race, ethnicity, HIV status or disabilities.
Let us pray for the children of the world, all of whom are dependent on the mercy and loving care of others. May 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.
November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Shockingly, one in three women across the globe has experienced physical or sexual violence at some time in their life and the consequences of this violence affects families and communities across several generations. Violence against women is a human rights violation and can be prevented. Indeed, such prevention is essential if the world is to make progress in many areas, including poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, and peace and security. This year’s theme is “Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”. The campaign strongly emphasizes the need for sustainable financing for efforts to end violence against women and girls towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG). SDG #5 is gender equality, which includes a specific target on ending violence against women and girls. This goal offers huge promise, but must be adequately funded in order to bring real and significant changes to the lives of women and girls. To bring this issue to the fore, the UN Secretary-General’s campaign “Unite to End Violence against Women’s” call for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in 2016 is ‘Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls’. The initiative provides a moment to bring the issue of sustainable financing for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women to global prominence and also presents the opportunity for resource mobilization for the issue. If you can, wear orange that day to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
Let us pray for women and girls who suffer physical, sexual or psychological violence. May those who inflict such suffering experience a conversion of heart and recognize that we are all equal. May every woman and girl come to know their own worth and teach love and respect for women to their children so that society may begin to change. May men and boys learn to cherish and respect their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and all women throughout the world. 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. That resolution provided for the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under a special international regime. Of the two States to be created under this resolution, only one, Israel, has so far come into being. The Palestinian people, who now number more than eight million, live primarily in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem; in Israel; in neighboring Arab States; and in refugee camps in the region. 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 remained unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, 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. In 2015, the Palestinian flag was raised at the Headquarters and Offices of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on raising the flags of non-member observer States at the United Nations (A/RES/69/320). The United Nations decided that the flags of non-member observer States, including the flag of the State of Palestine, shall be raised at Headquarters and United Nations offices following the flags of the Members States of the Organization. The Ceremony of the Raising of the Flag of the State of Palestine at the UN Headquarters in New York took place on September 30th, 2015:
"Today, 136 countries recognize the State of Palestine and its flag flies at the United Nations next to those of all Member States. However, these advances are not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem [...] let us reaffirm our commitment to bring about the just peace that the peoples of Israel and Palestine deserve."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Messageon the International Day of
Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Let us pray for the Palestinian people who continue to live under Israeli occupation and restrictions. May they be protected from violence and hatred. May both Israelis and Palestinians turn from violence and intimidation and come together in respectful dialogue, to work on a just resolution of their differences, so that they may be able to live side by side in peace and dignity.