November 15 will be the 4th time we've had this world day since Pope Francis instituted it during the Jubilee of Mercy. Haven't we all experienced poverty this year?
This coming November 15, the Universal Church marks the Fourth World Day of the Poor with the theme, “Stretch forth your hand to the poor” (Sir 7:32).
Instituted during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, this initiative hopes to make us more aware that, in the words of Pope Francis, “the poor are and always will be with us to help us welcome Christ’s presence into our daily lives (cf. Jn 12:8).”
During this pandemic, all of us have suffered in one way or another some form of poverty: from the lack of housing, food, and medical care to the lack of physical closeness, the inability to properly mourn and bury our loved ones, to the privation of the holy sacraments.
How can we stretch forth our hands and hearts to all those suffering some form of poverty during this current pandemic?
These are some suggestions:
- Collect Holy Bibles or purchase Christmas cards, stamps, and envelopes and send them to the Catholic Chaplain in your state’s men’s or women’s prison. In this way, prisoners can have greater access to the Word of God and can also be motivated to contact their families for the coming holy days and not feel abandoned.
- Purchase food, masks, and hand sanitizers and bring them to your local parish food pantry, homeless or domestic violence shelter.
- With any donation you give to the homeless, also give thema holy card; in this way you are also caring for their spiritual lives.
- Create a Zoom meeting and invite family and friends to read and discuss the Sunday Gospel every week, by asking what are the readings saying to us during this pandemic?
- Pray the Holy Rosary for the recently deceased in your parish and write a letter to your pastor indicating that you have done this, so that he can inform the grieving family.
- You or your children can draw Thanksgiving Day cards and send them to your local nursing home or to a religious retirement home to cheer up its residents.
- See which elderly or sick neighbor needs you to purchase food or even take out their trash for them; in this way, they are less exposed to coronavirus.
- Ask your pregnant friends or parishioners if you can be prayer sponsors for their unborn children and pray three Hail Marys daily for their babies’ lives and safe births. (You could do this in secret if you feel it is more prudent, but few expectant mothers will turn down an offer of prayer for their little ones!)
- Make sure no one in your home eats alone or eats watching the television; now more than ever, families need to eat and pray together.
- Support your local St. Vincent de Paul Society with food gift cards. If there are no local chapters in your area, be courageous and start one!
- Write Thank You cards and send them to doctors, nurses, staff, and first responders in your local hospital. Gratitude will encourage them as they continue risking their lives for us during this pandemic.
- Say yes to God’s call to give your entire life in the service of God’s poor by becoming a priest, a missionary, or a consecrated religious. Christ needs you!