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.
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.