A smiling baby girl sits on a concrete floor.
As World Day of Children approaches, consider how you can help build a bright future for little ones in need.

Catholics Honor World Day of Children 2024

Pope Francis recently announced that the Catholic Church will celebrate its first World Day of Children throughout the weekend of May 25-26. During this time, the Church will seek to address the following question: “What kind of world do we wish to pass on to the children who are growing up?”

What Is World Day of Children?

World Day of Children is an event that will be sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education. Pope Francis announced the creation of this event on Dec. 8 during his Angelus address for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Vatican News explained the event was inspired by a 9-year-old boy named Alessandro, who suggested this wonderful idea during Popecast, a podcast created by Vatican Media. Thousands of children from countries all over the world are expected to visit Rome for this special weekend in their honor.

The creation of this event encourages all of us Catholics to learn from children, pray for them, and consider how we can take action to build a brighter future for their lives. It also invites us to contemplate God’s heart for children and provides a beautiful opportunity to honor Christ by caring for the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

READ NEXT: Cross Catholic Outreach’s Global Ministry to Orphans

What Does the Bible Say About Children?

A boy wearing an altar server cassock stands, reading a Bible.
An altar boy in the Diocese of Chipata, Zambia, reads the Bible. Jesus’ words are filled with love for children like him!

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus spoke several times of children’s importance in the kingdom of heaven. I love reflecting on these scriptures:

  • “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” — Mark 10:14
  • “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” — Matthew 18:5
  • “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my father in heaven.” — Matthew 18:10

Clearly, children hold a special place in the heart of Christ, and it is our responsibility as his followers to make sure these little ones are protected and nurtured. As we seek to glorify the Lord, we should also be working to improve our world — doing our utmost to make this planet a place where children feel safe, have access to important resources and opportunities, and hear about God’s incredible love for them.

Let’s prayerfully consider the needs of children in our world and how we might bless their lives in Jesus’ name — not only for World Day of Children, but all year round!

READ NEXT: Powdered Milk: A Lifesaver for Guatemala’s Malnourished Children

One Urgent Need: Nutrition for Hungry Children in Guatemala

Two young girls stand at a table that holds two small plates of rice and beans.
By providing protein-rich Vitafood, powdered milk and funding for feeding programs, Catholics can help nourish hungry children such as those of the Rodriguez-González family.

There are many needs we could highlight as we consider how best to serve children around the world. Surely, one of the most urgent needs is for an end to child hunger. Knowing that many children do not have enough to eat each day is an issue that simply breaks my heart.

In Guatemala, for example, two-thirds of the population lives on less than $2 a day, and almost half the children are malnourished (World Food Programme). That nation has the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition and stunting in the world (USAID). In rural communities, Guatemala’s poorest families often struggle to survive by subsistence farming, growing only enough produce to eat a small meal or two each day. A single drought or hurricane can wipe out a family’s entire harvest — the food they depend on to survive. Often, undernourished mothers give birth to undernourished babies, creating a cycle of malnutrition that can last for generations.

The Rodriguez-González family knows that painful cycle all too well. Desperate to provide, the father has left home to search for work outside their community and the mother is doing all she can to care for their three beloved daughters each day. They know their children need adequate nutrition to develop properly — and right now, they must rely on the Church’s compassion to put enough food on the table.

READ NEXT: How Hunger and Malnutrition During Pregnancy Contribute to Poverty

How Catholics Can Help Hungry Children

Three girls drink from green cups.
Children in Guatemala enjoy glasses of milk, made from vitamin-fortified milk powder. This critical source of nutrients is helping them grow healthy and strong.

Cross Catholic Outreach is working with Catholic ministry partners in developing nations to ensure that children — such as those in the Rodriguez-González family — have access to the food they so desperately need. By donating to feed the hungry, U.S. Catholics can supply hardworking dioceses, priests, sisters and lay organizations with funding and food to nourish the hungriest children in their communities.

One specific way to help nourish children in Guatemala is by providing full-cream milk powder. At just 23 cents a glass, this powder can provide little ones with the protein, vitamins and nutrients they need to grow strong.

Guaranteeing full cups, full plates and full bellies is a beautiful, beautiful way to help build a healthier, happier future for precious boys and girls. Concerned Catholics can even make that critical mission part of their legacy — providing nourishment and loving support for future generations through their will or trust.

“Like Jesus, we want to put children at the center and care for them,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address last December.

Let us join together in lifting up the needs of children, praying on their behalf and seizing opportunities to make this world a better place for them.

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Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.