TRENTON, NJ - In a message issued Dec. 4, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., invited members of his flock and all people of good will in the diocese’s four counties to take part in a worldwide campaign to end hunger that launches Dec. 10.
Pope Francis will help launch the global campaign of prayer and action, which is being organized by Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of Catholic charities. The campaign will be kicked off with a global “wave of prayer” at noon, Dec. 10, on the South Pacific island of Samoa and head west across the world’s time zones.
Pope Francis will offer his blessing and support for the “One Human Family, Food For All” campaign in a five-minute video message being released on the eve of the global launch.
Caritas Internationalis invited its 164 member organizations and local churches to pray for an end to hunger and malnutrition as well as to act on a local, national or global level against food waste and promote food access and security worldwide.
Bishop O’Connell writes, “Pope Francis is asking that we participate in a global movement to respond to the needs of the hungry, poor and vulnerable in our midst through prayer and action on their behalf. Raising our consciousness of the hungry among us, praying for them, fasting and attendance at Mass on Dec. 10, sharing goods or resources with the poor through the St. Vincent de Paul Society or other charitable organizations of your parish are all appropriate ways that we, as a diocese, can express our solidarity with the hungry and poor.”
Nearly 1 billion people – or about one in eight people – experienced chronic hunger or undernourishment during 2010-2012, according to the Caritas website.
“One of the worst sounds a parent can hear is their child crying at night tormented by hunger. Many parents living in poverty hear this cry and yet they have no food to give them,” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, president of Caritas Internationalis, said in a video message.
“There is enough food to feed the planet. We believe that with your help and the help of governments and the U.N. we can end hunger by 2025,” he said.
The right to food is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the “Food For All” launch-date of Dec. 10 marks the U.N.’s Human Rights Day.
The Caritas campaign is calling on the United Nations to hold a session on the right to food at its 2015 General Assembly and is asking governments to guarantee the right to food in national legislation to help alleviate their own citizens’ hunger.
The campaign will continue with a “global week of action” in October 2014 with events aimed at pressuring national governments to support laws for the right to food.
In Rome in May 2015, Caritas Internationalis will also host a general assembly of its members’ leaders to focus specifically on eradicating hunger.
People can contact their local Caritas organization for more information or the campaign’s main site at www.food.caritas.org.
Encouraging prayer and action, Bishop O’Connell states, “As we continue to celebrate the holy season of Advent, let us prepare to seek the Lord Jesus Christ once more in the face of the poor and hungry.”