Sunday, November 19 will mark the first World Day for the Poor. Pope Francis has proclaimed World Day for the Poor as an annual observance on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, a week before the Solemnity of Christ the King.
In his message for the first World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis calls us to engage with people who are poor. He challenges us to do more than meet material needs, calling us to reach out and create moments of encounter, friendship, solidarity, and concrete assistance:
We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs and the injustices that are often their cause, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life. … If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States has created a process for reflection on World Day of the Poor including a prayer:
God of Justice, open our eyes to see you in the face of the poor who come to us in search of healing and wholeness. Open our mouths to advocate for health care as a human right, not a privilege of the economically secure. Open our hands to embrace the poor and help them with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes,” asking nothing in exchange, save the privilege of doing your work in the world. Remind us that what we do to the least ones, we do to you. Amen.
Click here to read the complete message from Pope Francis on World Day of the Poor.