Sunday, November 17, marks the Third Annual World Day of the Poor, a date for Catholics to consider the plight of hundreds of millions of people who suffer for lack of food and other basic necessities. Our hope is that in learning about the hardships of these families, many will respond with the love of Christ.
How can we address the needs of those who suffer under the crushing weight of poverty? We believe it takes compassionate action, and it is our mission to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ. Cross Catholic Outreach is inspired to pursue that ambitious strategy by Pope Francis’ humility and heart for the poor.
“We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.”
Pope Francis on establishing the World Day of the Poor in 2017
Since the start of his Pontificate, Pope Francis has called for greater attention to the sufferings of the poor, challenging Catholics everywhere to love and serve them. The World Day of the Poor is the start of a conversation about the harsh economic realities of millions of people and our call to serve.
Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Since its first observance on November 19, 2017, the Catholic Church has celebrated the World Day of the Poor each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. (This year the observance is held on the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time.)
The World Day of the Poor highlights Christ’s call for his followers to practice mercy toward the material and spiritual needs of others. The Corporal Works of Mercy, given by Jesus in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, are concerned with alleviating the physical suffering of others. Among them: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless (Mt. 25:35-36).
Pope Francis emphasizes this in his message for this year’s World Day of the Poor, which comes to us from Psalm 9:19, “The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.” His Holiness stresses the consistent state of the poor and downtrodden, lamenting the relevance of the Psalmist’s words today, writing, “…the words of the Psalm, then, are not about the past, but about our present.” Observing the suffering and injustice crushing the poor, the pope points to inequality, marginalization, and oppression and the duty of Christ’s followers to be his hands and feet while addressing these sources of social and economic imbalance.
As a Catholic ministry, Cross Catholic Outreach is dedicated to meeting not only the material needs of the poor, but also their spiritual needs. By channeling aid through dioceses, parishes, and Catholic missionaries, our ministry can cost-effectively help impoverished communities worldwide, empowering locals to break the cycle of poverty while advancing Catholic evangelization.
On this Third Annual World Day of the Poor we take to heart Pope Francis’ message, and we encourage you to learn more about the more than 700 million people struggling to survive in extreme poverty. Embrace this opportune time to support Catholic ministries that can transform the lives of our brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus Christ.
Click the button below to learn more about our ministry and how you can take part in World Day of the Poor.