A Global and Local Message for the New Year: Peace Be to This House!

January is Poverty Awareness Month ... Download Weekly Discussion Guides

“Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples,” wrote Pope Francis in his letter on the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2019

January is Poverty Awareness Month

“Peace be to this house ... The 'house’ of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our ‘common home’: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.” – from Pope Francis' January 1 message

> Download a home reading and discussion guide here. Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 

Bringing the message home, in our community

In December, Holy Cross hosted the monthly meeting of the Durham Congregations in Action (DCIA), of which the parish is a member as part of our Peace, Justice and Human Developmennt Commission. Among other updates, participants learned about a new initiative in the Durham community – to provide assistance with basic necessities for those in transition from incarceration to life in the community. Ava Thompson, chair of Holy Cross’s Justice, Peace and Human Development commission and our DCIA representative, will be getting details to the parish soon about this opportunity to help others.

This opportunity is aligned with the Pope’s call to action in his January 1, 2019 letter.

“In announcing the theme for this year’s World Day of Peace, the Vatican made note of the call to all of us to engage with our civic systems, saying: ‘Political responsibility belongs to every citizen and, in particular, to those that have received the mandate to protect and to govern.’ (Extracted from a statment by the Vatican communications office.)

“Instead of indifference, cynicism or thinking our voices do not matter, we believe the Gospel calls us to raise our voices for the common good, for ‘politics is one of the highest forms of charity.’ Advocating for and with communities who are oppressed, disadvantaged, or excluded is a response to our baptismal call to love all members of the Body of Christ, in imitation of Christ’s love.’”

In his message, Pope Francis also addresses the challenge of good politics, noting that “Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization and even destruction.”

Pope Francis also reminds us that charity and human virtues are “the basis of politics at the service of human rights and peace,” and shares the “Beatitudes of the Politician”, proposed by Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận, a faithful witness to the Gospel who died in 2002.

Tags: Poverty Awareness Month, Justice Peace and Human Dignity

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