Fourth World Day of the Poor
15th November 2020
“Stretch forth your hand to the poor” (Sir 7:32)
4th World Day of the Poor Message (Pope Francis / pdf)
Pope Francis has lunch with the poor in the Paul VI Hall (Vatican Media)Pope Francis releases his message for the Fourth World Day of the Poor, observed on 15 November. The Pope calls on people to keep their gaze fixed on the poor, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and warns against succumbing to a “whirlwind of indifference”.
By Lydia O’Kane
The theme for the 4th World Day of the Poor is “Stretch forth your hand to the poor”, taken from the book of Sirach. The Message was released on Saturday, while the actual World Day is observed on 15 November 2020.
Drawing from this text, Pope Francis observes that “its author presents his advice concerning many concrete situations in life, one of which is poverty. He insists that even amid hardship we must continue to trust in God.”
The Pope points out that from these pages we see, “prayer to God and solidarity with the poor and suffering are inseparable.”
He also notes that “time devoted to prayer can never become an alibi for neglecting our neighbour in need.”
The gift of Generosity
“Generosity that supports the weak, consoles the afflicted, relieves suffering and restores dignity to those stripped of it, is a condition for a fully human life,” Pope Francis says.
“The power of God’s grace cannot be restrained by the selfish tendency to put ourselves always first.”
In his message, the Pope acknowledges that “keeping our gaze fixed on the poor is difficult”, but, he underlines, it is “more necessary than ever if we are to give proper direction to our personal life and the life of society.”
Whirlwind of indifference
“We cannot feel ‘alright’ when any member of the human family is left behind and in the shadows,” he says.
The Pope laments a frenetic pace of life that leads people into a “whirlwind of indifference”. He adds that it is only when something happens that upsets the course of our lives do our eyes become capable of seeing the goodness of the saints “next door”.
As an aid and development agency, Caritas Australia works to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people in our world. How these communities are identified can be a logistical, financial and cultural challenge. Priority must be considered within a broader context of the geography, local government networks, other non-government organisations, and even climate. Communities are identified through a comprehensive process in collaboration with on-the-ground partners, church and local networks.
When schools decide to partner directly with communities, applying the preference for the poor means it is important to consider what selection criteria has been applied. How will you determine which community to work with? How will it be determined if that community is the most need in that area? What other funding channels are available to the communities?
Film clip – Fundraising with the preferential option for the poor
Watch the following clip and discuss:
We fund children who often haven’t had the opportunity to go to school