The tagline for the First World Day of the Poor (November 19) is “Love not in word but in deed.” I think it’s assumed we’re to read it as “Love not only in word but also in deed.” Through the Gospel Weeklies, children learn that Jesus wants us to show our love in both word and deed. This Day coincides with our annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (November 19).
In his First World Day of the Poor message, Pope Francis writes: “This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter” (6).
We encourage you to weave mention of this Day and our responsibility for the poor into your lessons. The Gospel of the Parable of the Talents is a good one for reflecting on using our time, talent, and treasure for the good of others. In the United States, Thursday, November 23 is Thanksgiving Day, a day for giving thanks for our many blessings. Next Sunday’s Gospel about the Works of Mercy follows up and puts an exclamation point on this theme. That’s a triple dose of a very important Gospel message! Help the children “put shoes on the Gospel” by expressing what they’re learning in practical and age-appropriate works of service or expressions of care. Look at the Catholic Identity Project of the Week in your Teaching Guide for some ideas.
Visions students will find the World Day of the Poor addressed in their lesson for this Sunday. Catechists and teachers of other levels may find a way to work this into their lessons as well. Find the lesson page from Visions here.
You may also wish to share the following prayer in your classroom or home:
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe for Justice
Most merciful mother,
you came to tell us of your compassion
through St. Juan Diego, whom you called
the littlest and dearest of your sons.
Give your strength and protection to all
who live in poverty today,
especially the young, elderly, and vulnerable.
Plead for them to the Father,
that they might experience the Divine Love
tangibly in their daily lives,
and that all who work for justice on behalf
of the poor might grow in fortitude and humility.
In these ways, manifest your charity and concern
in our lives, that the weeping of humanity may be heard,
and all our suffering, pain, and misfortune
may be filled with divine comfort and healing.
May we always know the peace of being
in the cradle of your arms,
and bring us safely home to your son, Jesus.
Copyright © 2015, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC.
Image credit: Vatican Press Office via Catholic News Service