Suggested FCJM-Participation for the Month of January, 2017
January 1—World Day of Peace
January 1st -- World Peace Day -- marks its 50th anniversary, first declared by Pope Paul VI as a special feast day in 1967 following the publication of the Pope John XXIII encyclical Pacem in Terris. This year, Pope Francis has published his world day of peace reflection entitled Non-violence: A Style of Politics For Peace.
Pope Francis said in his Aug. 26 message, 'The proliferation of hotbeds of violence produces most serious negative social consequences. … Peace, by contrast, promotes social positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress.' Justice achieved through the means of active non-violence is the Gospel way to peace.
Let us pray to our God of Peace for the gift of disarmament. May we turn away from war and violence and commit ourselves to building a world of justice and peace through active non-violence.
January 15—Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
January 15th is the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, a great, non-violent civil rights leader from the USA. He was born in 1929 and died after being shot by an assassin on April 4, 1968 as he campaigned for a just wage for garbage workers in Memphis Tennessee. The theme for this year’s celebration and remembrance is “we shall overcome”. Although Doctor King is best known for his non-violent struggle for racial justice and equality during the civil rights struggle in the US in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, his later years expanded his work, demanding economic justice and an end to war as essential to the struggle for civil rights. This day honors the total legacy of Dr. King, focuses on the issue of civil rights, highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change, and calls people into public service. Martin Luther King Jr has become an international symbol of hope throughout the world and his legacy continues to inspire millions in their struggle for freedom, equality, justice and dignity around the world.
Let us pray for those around the world still living in oppression and hopelessness because of racial, ethnic or religious hatred or intolerance. May they be inspired by the many heroes of non-violence who have helped to bring about social change. May Martin Luther King’s story and life inspire each of us to work for economic justice, equality, respect for diversity and non-violent peace making.
January 27—International Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Holocaust
This day of commemoration of the victims of the holocaust was adopted by the United nations in 2005 in order to remind the world of the lessons learned so that all forms of genocide can be guarded against and prevented from happening again. This day reminds all of us of what hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice can lead to. It calls upon all citizens of the world to respect and cherish our diversity and to protect one another whenever someone is threatened with harm. This day reminds us that bad things happen when good people remain silent. We must never be silent in the face of injustice, even if standing in solidarity with “the other” could result in death. This is truly a sobering realization, but this is what we are called to do.
Let us pray for the many victims of the holocaust whom we remember today. We also remember and pray for the many victims of genocide who continue to suffer from extreme violence and “ethnic cleansing” in Central America, Syria, Iraq and so many other places. We pray for the courage to protect our brothers and sisters whenever we see them under attack. May we always stand in solidarity, wrapped together in the cloak of love and respect.
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