Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of August, 2016
August 6 and 9—Remembrance of the Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan 1945
These special days are days to remember the first and only times that nuclear weapons have been used as weapons of war. On August 6, the U.S. dropped a uranium gun-type atomic bomb (Little Boy) on the city of Hiroshima. American President Harry S. Truman called for Japan's surrender 16 hours later, warning them to "expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth". Three days later, on August 9, the U.S. dropped a plutonium implosion-type bomb (Fat Man) on the city of Nagasaki. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians. The world must never forget the devastation of war that nuclear weapons epitomize. We must condemn not just the use but even the possession of nuclear weapons as immoral weapons of mass destruction. We must rid our world of all nuclear weapons.
Let us pray for victims of war throughout the world, particularly those still living who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. May we all work to rid our world of all nuclear weapons. Let us pray for national leaders of every country. May they seek and find nonviolent ways to resolve disputes and come to understand one another as brothers and sisters.
August 11—Feast of St Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi (Chiara Offreduccio) was one of the earliest followers of St Francis, joining his movement on Palm Sunday, March 20, 1212. She willingly embraced the poor and ill, serving their needs, counselling them and offering love and hope. In her monastery, all were sisters to one another. She recognized that wealth brought status, which separated people from one another. For this reason she steadfastly refused to accept property and possessions and insisted on living “the privilege of poverty”. Like Francis, Clare teaches us to embrace everyone and all creation as brothers and sisters.
Let us pray that we may live with respect and love for one another. May we recognize that we are all one, sisters and brothers to each other and to all creation.
August 19—World Humanitarian Day
World Humanitarian Day is a day dedicated to humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and set as 19 August. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad in 2003. Humanitarian aid workers risk their lives daily around the world in order to bring relief to those suffering from disease, malnutrition, poverty and war.
Let us pray for all those who put their lives at risk in order to bring critically needed assistance to millions of suffering people around the world. May we support their efforts in whatever ways we can. May we each do our part to reach out to those in need to relieve their suffering and to bring hope.
August 23—International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
The International Day For Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition is set on August 23 because in late August 1791, a slave uprising on the Island of Santo Domingo (present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) eventually ended slavery on that island and set the stage for a broader movement to end the transatlantic slave trade. On this day we remember the more than 15 million women, men and children who were victims of the transatlantic slave trade over more than 400 years. It is a time to remember the brutality of the system of slavery, a system of injustice that brought unimaginable suffering to so many. We also remember the lasting legacy of racial discrimination that is a legacy of slavery today. We honor those who survived against all odds. We are grateful to those who worked to end slavery, often at the price of their own lives. We also work to raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
Let us pray that as we remember the millions of victims of slavery and more than 400 years of suffering, we also pray for an end to racism and discrimination that are today’s legacy of slavery. May we work to cleanse our own hearts of prejudice. Heal us so that we can treat all humanity with dignity, respect and love.
August 26—Women’s Equality Day
At the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” This date commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Although not an international day, it is a good time for all of us around the world to remember that in many parts of the world women are still treated as second-class citizens or as if they were mere possessions of men. It calls our attention to women’s continuing struggles for full equality. The passage of the 19th amendment, after 72 years of effort, demonstrates the power of non-violent action for civil rights. When they first organized to gain political power, women were a virtually powerless, disenfranchised class. Yet without firing a shot, throwing a rock, or issuing a personal threat, women won for themselves the kind of political power that revolutionaries elsewhere have launched violent rebellions to achieve. To win the right to vote, women circulated countless suffrage petitions and gave speeches in churches, convention halls, meeting houses and on street corners. They published newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines. They were frequently harassed and sometimes attacked by mobs and police. Some women were thrown in jail, and when they protested the injustice they were treated brutally. Still they persevered. Finally, on August 26, 1920, their goal was achieved. Women had won the right to vote and to hold elective office.
Let us pray that as we struggle for civil rights around the world, may we harness the power of non-violent action to achieve lasting justice. May we stand in solidarity with women who are ignored, mistreated, oppressed and demeaned, and work for justice, respect and civil rights for all.
Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of June, 2016
June 4—International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
This special day was first designated by the United Nations in 1982 to remember the children victimized by the war in Lebanon. The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. As a result of international conflicts, countless children have been killed or maimed and many of those who have survived have lost their parents and their means of sustenance. This day affirms the UN's commitment to protect the rights of children. They are to be given the opportunities and facilities to enable them to develop in a normal and healthy manner, in conditions of freedom and dignity, and to grow up in an atmosphere of affection and security.
For more information click on http://www.un.org/en/events/childvictimday/index.shtml
Let us pray for those children throughout the world who suffer physical, emotional and spiritual trauma as a result of war and violence. May we recommit ourselves to working for peace with justice and an end to violence of all kind, so that children and all people can live in peace and harmony with one another and all can grow and flourish.
June 5—World Environment Day
Sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) the World Environment Day raises global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and planet Earth. This annual day has been celebrated around the world since 1972. The theme in 2016 is “Fight Against the Illegal Trade in Wildlife”. This trade seriously threatens biodiversity and is pushing many species closer to extinction. This year’s World Environment Day celebrations are being hosted by Angola, a country seeking to restore its elephant herds, conserve Africa’s biodiversity-rich wildlife, and safeguard the environment as it continues to rebuild after more than a quarter-century of civil war.
For further information go to: http://www.wed2016.com/
Let us pray that we may all grow in awareness of and respect for the dignity of all creatures on Earth. Their beauty and uniqueness are gifts to be treasured by all of us. May we honor the great web of life by protecting each creature as precious.
June 8—World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day is a yearly event that celebrates and honors the oceans of the world that unite us all. The oceans generate much of the oxygen that we breathe, they regulate our climate, and they feed us. Only about 10% of the oceans waters have been explored and there may be as many as 9 million species yet to be discovered, mostly in the deep ocean waters. Ocean warming due to climate change threatens many species and alters weather patterns worldwide. Over fishing and pollution are also threats. The oceans are the life blood of our planet.
For more information go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Oceans_Day
Let us pray for the vast oceans of the world, which team with life, feeding us, regulating our climate, creating oxygen for us to breathe and blessing the earth with beauty, majesty, power and awe. May each of us do what we can to protect the oceans on which our planet depends. May our gratitude embrace the wonders of the oceans, large and small, known and yet to be discovered.
The World Day to Combat Desertification has been observed since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought.The theme for 2016 is: Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People. This day is a unique occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and co-operation at all levels.
For more information go to: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event-and-campaigns/WDCD/Pages/default.aspx
Let us pray that as we struggle for sustainable development, we will be conscious of preserving and protecting the land and its rich biodiversity and life-sustaining resources. May we not exploit the land, but learn to live in harmony with all of creation so that we and future generations may continue to enjoy rich harvests, and an environment that inspires us with its beauty.
June 20—World Refugee Day
Since 2001 World Refugee Day has been a day to remember the millions of refugees and Internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. The ongoing conflict in Syria, as well as crises in Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central African Republic, northeastern Nigeria and parts of Pakistan, have led to a staggering growth and acceleration of global forced displacement. Presently, over 50 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and often their countries, in desperate attempts to reach safety. Recent images of the Pope’s visit to Syrian refugees have touched our hearts.
For more information go to: http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/helping.shtml
Let us pray that as we struggle for an end to violence and war we will reach out in love, support and solidarity to our refugee sisters and brothers. May we respond with open hearts and willing hands, to welcome them into our midst and to support them in their efforts to find a place to live, work and grow in peace and security.
June 26—International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture
International Day In Support Of Victims Of Torture is a day dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world. States have an obligation not only to prevent torture but to provide all torture victims with effective and prompt redress, compensation and appropriate social, psychological, medical and other forms of rehabilitation. The day serves as a reminder to people that torture is not only unacceptable, it is a crime. This event gives everyone a chance to unite and voice their opinions against human torture.
For more information go to: http://www.un.org/en/events/torturevictimsday/index.shtml
Let us pray for all victims of torture. May they find the love and support and professional help they need to begin again to live their lives with hope and strength. May all those who have inflicted torture look deep within their hearts and get in touch once again with their own humanity and the dignity of all human beings. May we be instruments of peace, hope, healing and respect to all victims of torture.