World Day of the Poor: Church in Brazil launches week of action
By Lisa Zengarini
The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 14 November 2021, marks the Fifth World Day of the Poor (WDP), which, this year, has for its theme, “The poor you will always have with you” (Mk 14:7). Ahead of the Day, the Church in Brazil has launched a national week of action against poverty titled “Do you feel compassion?”.
Small concrete gestures
Brazil's bishops are encouraging the faithful, during the week of 7-14 November, to make small “concrete” and “transformative” gestures of charity towards the poor and for fighting poverty in their respective communities, highlighting the need to consider solidarity a faith response to the pressing challenges of our times.
Not becoming indifferent to the poor
"Faith drives us to dream and to work together to overcome poverty,” says Bishop Joel Portella Amado, Secretary-General of the Bishops' Conference of Brazil (CNBB). “We cannot get used to poverty and become indifferent to the poor.”
Joining initiatives against poverty
Activities during the week are being organized by the Commissions for Social Action and for Human Mobility of the Brazilian Bishop’s Conference (CNBB), in partnership with the Brazilian Social Week, Caritas Brazil, and other Catholic organizations.
Organizers have prepared resources encouraging the faithful to join a number of activities sponsored by Church organizations. These include initiatives proposed in the “Pact for Life and for Brazil,” which was launched in 2020 by the Bishops’ Conference together with civil society associations in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and its social and economic consequences.
Poverty affects tens of millions in Brazil
Overall poverty affects almost 52 million people in Brazil. The pandemic has worsened the situation and is affecting women, indigenous people, and the rural population in particular. More than 19 million Brazilians are presently suffering from starvation, up from 10.3 million in 2018. In addition, 16 million people suffer from food insecurity.
The World Day of the Poor was established by Pope Francis at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. In his message for the Day, he recalls that being disciples of Jesus implies caring for and respecting the poor.