Poverty continues to be one of the greatest challenges of our time. Millions of people around the world are living under severe poverty situations. Africa is not dispensed from this reality.
According to Africa Hunger and Poverty Facts 2016 reports, hunger and malnutrition remain a large barrier for development in many regions including Africa. Approximately 27.4% of population in Africa live under severe food insecurity, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa. About 333.2 Million people in Africa, out of the total of 688.5 million poor people in the world, are affected by severe food security, and this number has increased with 3% in 2017.
Abuse of power by corrupt governments, a big influx of millions of people into the cities hoping for better opportunities, lack of equal distribution of opportunities and sharing of wealth with the poor, migration to other countries hoping for a better life, lack of basic services to the people at the peripheries, ongoing civil wars in many countries, scramble for mineral and natural resources, lack of proper educations systems capable of empowering people with proper skills, poor strategies for poverty alleviation, economic manipulation of poor countries by the powerful ones, manipulation of the markets by the few wealthy; all continue to haunt our people, especially in the poor countries, and they have become some of the major factors perpetuating severe poverty.
For thousands of years Catholic Church has been in the forefront, through different initiatives, to combat the atrocities associated with poverty and empower the disadvantaged with better opportunities of uplifting themselves.
As a call to action towards the poor and the disadvantaged, the Catholic Church this year will celebrate the 2nd World Day of the Poor, on the 18th November 2018, bearing the theme “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him”.
The World Day of the Poor was first celebrated during the Year of Mercy in 2016. This was a tremendous initiative of organizing a very enormous pilgrimage, namely ‘Fratello’, whereby many homeless people on the streets of our cities and towns were helped to gather in Rome to celebrate the Year of Mercy with the Holy Father.
The positive outcome of the gathering and its moving experience led to Pope Francis’ call to all the faithful, to promote the spirit of care for the poor and the disadvantaged according to their own contexts.
Pope Francis has extended his special invitation to other cities of the world to offer their full commitment to commemorate the day in a special way.
Through the continuous celebration of this day, Holy Father’s wish is to see all the faithful taking practical steps towards making sure that the day in celebration is honored in all dioceses and parishes of the world. He wants to see the faithful, practically getting involved in taking care of the poor according to their different traditions.
Holy Father also has laid some proposals on how the 2nd World Day of the Poor can be celebrated in different parts of the world, and also gave some accompanying documents to help in the preparations, which are found in www.wearefratello.org.
The tips for preparing for the 2nd World Day of the Poor are also found in the website of Dicastery of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, www.pcpne.va.
For more information regarding the logistics for celebrating the 2nd World Day of the Poor, kindly contact your chancery to find out if there is a special organization for celebrating the day.