Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of October, 2016
October 1—International Day of Older Persons
The World Health Organization’s International Day of Older Persons is a day for honoring elderly persons as holders of wisdom that comes with life and history. This year’s theme is “Take a Stand Against Ageism”. It is a day to raise awareness of abandoned and abused elderly persons and those who suffer loneliness, loss of dignity, hopelessness and illness. Elderly members of society continue to play important roles in their families, communities and the world. They are able to share their experiences of life with a perspective that only years of living can bring. Let us reach out to those in our own lives who have lived many years and learn from their experience and wisdom.
Let us pray for all of us who are elderly, especially those who are abandoned and forgotten, that someone will reach out to them in kindness and respect. May each of us treat our elders with the dignity and love, spending time listening to their wisdom and lived experience.
October 2—International Day of Nonviolence
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and has been celebrated since 2007. It is a day to promote nonviolence through education and public awareness in order to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence. As Franciscans prepare to celebrate the feast of St. Francis, the great peacemaker, this day reminds us that we are all called to rededicate ourselves to active peacemaking in our daily lives and to carry the principles of non-violence into the world.
Let us pray for conversion of heart for ourselves and world leaders. May we turn from violence and embrace lives of peace, justice and nonviolence. May we turn our swords into plowshares and may we train for war no more. May we see all of creation as brothers and sisters.
October 10—Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Indigenous Peoples' Day began as a holiday celebrated in various localities in the United States. It began as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, promoting Native American culture and commemorating the history of Native American peoples. It is now celebrated as a day to honor indigenous people around the world whose cultures are endangered by destruction of the environment and by unjust policies that fail to protect their ancestral homelands from those who would steal their land and threaten their livelihoods. Their lives and land are often coveted by mining companies, hydroelectric companies, loggers, and oil companies. Indigenous people have a knowledge of the natural world that is invaluable at this time of ecological crisis. This is a day for honoring and learning from our indigenous brothers and sisters and working with them for the protection of their human rights and for preservation of their lands.
Let us pray for indigenous peoples throughout the world who suffer injustice and whose lives are threatened by greed. May we live and work in solidarity with all indigenous people, respecting their human rights, preserving our natural environment and respecting indigenous homelands.
October 13—International Day for Disaster Reduction
The UN General Assembly sees International Day for Disaster Reduction as a way to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. That includes disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. This year, the emphasis is on “The Sendai Seven Campaign – 7 Targets, 7 Years”, an advocacy initiative to encourage implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction with the goal of saving lives, reducing disaster losses and improving management of disaster risk. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser said, “Despite many successes there are still far too many lives being lost in predictable events because of failures to deploy early warning systems, learn lessons from past events and to grasp the growing threat of climate change and its impact on extreme weather events including storms, floods and drought.” To read more go to: http://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/sendai-framework
Let us pray for people throughout the world who have suffered from any natural disaster, especially this past year. May they be comforted and given hope and assistance to rebuild their lives. May we be generous in lending whatever assistance we can to those in need and may we continue our efforts to address climate change which contributes to the frequency and severity of such disasters.
October 15—International Day of Rural Women
The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. This new international day, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, make up over a quarter of the total world population. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural labor force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security. 76% of the extreme poor live in rural areas. Ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty, and makes rural women critical for the success of the new Sustainable Development agenda for 2030 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger worldwide.
Let us pray for all women who live in rural areas, especially for those living in rural poverty. May their crops grow well, so that they can successfully feed themselves, their children and their communities. May their strength and health endure and may all women be respected and treasured by their families and society.
October 16—World Food Day
World Food Day is celebrated every year around the world on 16 October in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945.It is a day to honor those committed to food security around the world, to celebrate those who grow and produce food, especially many small farmers who live in rural poverty while caring for the earth and feeding the world. Climate change is drastically affecting farmers in many parts of the world through increased floods and drought, leading to crop failures, often on a massive scale. World Food Day has adopted a different theme every year. The theme for 2016 is Climate change: Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too. Let us support local farmers as much as possible, buy fair trade products that ensure a just income for farmers, and do what we can to hold our leaders accountable for implementation of the COP21 Paris Climate Change Agreements so that together we can address climate change, which threatens the world’s food supply.
Let us pray those who plant and care for the earth in order to grow food for the world, for those who harvest, and for those responsible for food distribution. May food justice be a priority in our world. May we do all we can to address climate change and to protect our Mother Earth so that the bounty she produces may continue to nourish us. For the bounty of the earth, we are thankful.
October 17 – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
This special day is a day to raise awareness of the need to work to eradicate poverty and destitution worldwide. This is one of the main Sustainable Development Goals approved by the UN in September 2015. It is a day when individuals and non-governmental organizations urge governments around the world to make the ending of poverty a central goal of their foreign policy. Even members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank agree that this goal is achievable if the political will is present.
Let us pray for all those who live in extreme poverty around the world that our global community will join together in efforts to bring political will and resources together to end this preventable suffering and hunger.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of September, 2016
September 1—World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Pope Francis has designated September 1, 2016 as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and has asked that this day be celebrated each year on this date. It will also be added to the official Church calendar. Pope Francis said he was instituting the prayer day for Catholics because he shares the concern of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who initiated a similar prayer day for the Orthodox Church in 1989. The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis said, will be a time for individuals and communities to "reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live."
Let us pray for all of us who share Earth as our common home. May we treasure the diversity of creation, grow in our appreciation of the divine presence revealed in and through creation, and strengthen our commitment to care for Earth and for one another.
September 8—International Literacy Day
UNESCO first celebrated International Literacy Day on September 8, 1966. This 50th anniversary’s theme is: Reading the Past; Writing the Future. Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. On this day we honor the efforts made over these past 50 years to increase literacy rates around the world and encourage innovative solutions to further increase literacy rates in the future. This is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this context the vision of literacy is aligned with lifelong learning opportunities with special focus on youth and adults. Literacy is a part of Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The target is that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy (SDG Target 4.6).
Let us pray for children and adults around the world who have yet to gain full access to the tools for shaping their own future that literacy provides. May we commit ourselves to lifelong learning so that we can grow in our awareness of the struggles of the world’s poor and offer what we can toward building the future we desire.
September 16—International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was designated for this day in commemoration of the date, in 1987, on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer helps shield the earth from the harmful portion of the solar rays, thus protecting life on earth. Gradually increasing awareness of and phasing out of chemicals that damage the ozone layer of our atmosphere have already resulted in improvement in the ozone layer and have helped slow down climate change. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, an important milestone in the protection of the ozone layer. The theme for this celebration is: “30 years of healing the ozone together.” The theme is supported by the slogan, “Ozone: All there is between you and UV.”
Let us pray that all of us will continue to treasure Earth and care for the ozone layer which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and makes life on this planet possible. May we continue to be vigilant and ensure that harmful chemicals continue to be banned from use so that the ozone layer will be protected and restored.
September 18—World Water Monitoring Day
The primary goal of World Water Monitoring Day is to educate and engage citizens in the protection of water resources around the world. Many communities around the world are unaware of the condition of their water quality and the impact of their behaviors on the quality of their water resources. Conducting simple monitoring tests teaches participants about some of the most common indicators of water health and encourages further participation in more formal citizen monitoring efforts. This is an important global effort to protect this most precious of our natural resources—water.
Let us thank God for the gift of Sister Water, on whom all life depends. May we use this gift wisely, and may we continue to protect water from contamination and pollution for ourselves and future generations.
September 21—International Day of Peace
Recalling that the promotion of peace is one of the main purposes of the United Nations, the UN, in 1981, set aside September 21 as the International Day of Peace as a day “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.” It is a day dedicated to building a culture of peace through dialogue, understanding, empathy, respect for human dignity and justice for all. This year’s theme is: Sustainable Development Goals—Building Blocks For Peace. The Secretary General of the UN will begin the day by ringing the Japanese Peace Bell in the Peace Garden of the UN Headquarters. Women Nobel Peace Prize laureates and the United Nations Messengers of Peace will be invited to participate in the ceremony. True and lasting peace can only come about when all people have access to and participate meaningfully in sustainable development.
Let us pray that as we work toward realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we may all open our hearts toward all people as our brothers and sisters. May we respect and cherish one another, building bridges of understanding, respect and justice as lasting foundations for peace.
September 25—Anniversary of the United Nations Adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals adopted on September 25, 2015 at a special meeting of the 193 member states:
* An end to severe poverty in all its forms, everywhere
* End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
* Good health and well-being- ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages
* Quality education- ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all
* Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
* Clean water and sanitation- ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
* Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
* Decent work and economic growth—promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
* Industry, innovation and infrastructure—build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
* Reduce inequalities within and among countries
* Sustainable cities and communities—make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
* Responsible production and consumption—ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns
* Climate action—take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
* Life below water—conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
* Life on land—protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
* Peace, justice and strong institutions—promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions as all levels
* Partnerships for the goals—strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development