10 December 2013
New Zealanders were among the first in the world on Tuesday 10 December to start a worldwide ‘wave of prayer’ that launched a global campaign to end hunger, with the blessing of Pope Francis. A video message from the Pope (available on the Caritas website) marked the start of a two-year campaign by the international Caritas network, as he urges all people – organisations and individuals – to consider the impact of their daily actions on those who suffer from hunger.
The youngest Caritas member – Caritas Samoa – lead the 164-member confederation at midday local time in a wave of prayer sweeping the globe at midday in each time zone. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand joined with Tonga an hour later, praying the Campaign Prayer at their midday. All Catholics and people of goodwill were invited to ‘catch the wave’ – at midday, or any other time on the day.
New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops issued their own message on Sunday 8 December, calling on people to live more simply this Christmas and to reach out to share their food with others, such as by donating to a foodbank or inviting a neighbour for a meal.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Julianne Hickey said the difficulties people have obtaining adequate, nutritious food is a challenge facing the poorest members of society in all parts of the globe.
‘Caritas works with communities to ensure their access to livelihoods which sustain themselves and their families. In our global work this includes projects such as lending seed capital to farmers in Tonga, and supporting agricultural work in Papua New Guinea to improve production of cocoa and coconut as an alternative to palm oil.
‘In our local work in Aotearoa New Zealand this includes advocacy around food in schools and access to legal entitlements to benefits such as food grants. We also undertake awareness and education about food insecurity with the Catholic and wider community, such as our 2012 Social Justice Week focus on food.’