The World Day of the Poor is commemorated annually on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar, which this year falls on 13 November. In this year’s message themed, ‘For your sakes Christ became poor (2 Cor. 8:9)’, Pope Francis recalled the words of St Paul to the Christians of Corinth, to encourage their efforts to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters in need. The Pope noted the World Day this year comes ‘as a healthy challenge, helping us to reflect on our style of life and on the many forms of poverty all around us.’
Overcoming poverty: A question of a fair balance
Roger Ellis, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
The Mission of Caritas is about being love in action. We unite with communities, especially in the parishes, colleges, marae, religious orders and schools of Aotearoa and Oceania to overcome poverty, protect lives and relieve suffering. This World Day of the Poor, Sunday 13 November, we will be working with other Church agencies to highlight the plight of the poor – both overseas and in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We hope that people from all over Aotearoa will join us in praying for and taking action on behalf of poor and vulnerable people around the world.
About one in ten people in the world live in extreme poverty today. That is, they live on less than $1.90 a day – the UN’s poverty line. In line with the Catholic social teaching principle of subsidiarity, Caritas is working with its partners to help communities to stand on their own feet and to be empowered to make decisions about their own futures.
As Pope Francis notes in his 2022 Message for World Day of the Poor: ‘None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 201). There is an urgent need to find new solutions that can go beyond the approach of those social policies conceived as ‘a policy for the poor, but never with the poor and never of the poor, much less part of a project that brings people together’ (Fratelli Tutti, 169). We need instead to imitate the attitude of the Apostle, who could write to the Corinthians: ‘I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance’ (2 Cor 8:13).
Each of us can play our part to help those who have been less fortunate or who have been exploited and mistreated. For more information about the work of Caritas see www.caritas.org.nz
Supporting communities on the margins
World Day of the Poor coincides with Wellington Catholic Social Services (CSS) Annual Kotahitanga Appeal, this year 13–30 November.
‘We thank those who have supported us in the last year. Your support is critical to CSS enabling its work targeted at the grassroots of our communities,’ says Kaiarahi Kamau Holland.
Pope Francis details in his 2022 World Day of the Poor message the hardship, starvation and poverty impacts from the Covid pandemic, war in the Ukraine and global warming. He says, ‘Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement.’
‘Catholic Social Services focuses on grassroots’ direct action in our communities and identifying ways to support people on the margins,’ says Kamau Holland.
‘Highlights this year include the Benefit Impact for the Deaf community run in partnership with Hutt Valley’s Benefit Education Services Trust (BEST), and the Men’s Wellness initiative with Greenstone Doors.’
Lyneen Allen, CSS Community Navigator, who is also Deaf, says, ‘It can be hard for Deaf people to get the support they need and many also struggle with literacy. Issues arise when a NZSL interpreter is not provided when they are entitled to one.’
Most Deaf people attending the Benefit Impact were not getting the financial support they were eligible to because of communication issues.
The Men’s programme includes ‘Game On’ and ‘Great Fathers – Mana Matua’, both parenting programmes for dads, ‘Tane Talks’ a support group for dads, and social worker support.
Duncan, CSS Volunteer and a workshop facilitator, says, ‘Men, I believe, are quite solitary beings – we have a lot of acquaintances and few close friends and even with those we do not always have the real deep and helpful discussions I’ve experienced in these workshops.’
This year CSS is highlighting Hospital and Prison chaplains who offer pastoral support to individuals, families, and staff in hospitals and prisons. They offer an essential non-judgemental ear especially for people facing crisis.
Hutt Hospital chaplain Kathryn van Woerkom says, ‘Chaplains bring unconditional love and acceptance to patients, whānau and staff with no other agenda.’
Kamau Holland thanks everyone for their support during the year. ‘Your support is critical to CSS enabling its work among the grassroots of our communities. If you would like to support the CSS Annual Appeal in November through organising a fundraiser in your community, please email email@example.com or call (04) 385-8642.’
To help support CSS in their mission, please donate to CSS account: 02-0560-0213864-00. Please include your First and Last name and ‘CSS22’ as the code.