The theme for this year’s World Day of the Poor, on Sunday November 17, has been revealed as: “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (Ps 9:19)

In his letter announcing the theme, Pope Francis writes that these words, “express a profound truth that faith impresses above all on the hearts of the poor, restoring lost hope in the face of injustice, sufferings and the uncertainties of life.

“How can we fail to note that the Beatitudes with which Jesus began his preaching of the kingdom of God open with the words: ‘Blessed are you who are poor’ (Lk 6:20)? The meaning of this paradoxical message is that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor because they are in a position to receive it.

“How many poor people do we encounter each day! It seems that the passage of time and the advances of civilisation increase their numbers rather than diminishing them.

“Centuries go by and the Beatitude appears even more paradoxical: the poor are always poorer, and today they are poorer than ever.

“The situation of the poor obliges us not to keep our distance from the body of the Lord, who suffers in them. Instead, we are called to touch his flesh and to be personally committed in offering a service that is an authentic form of evangelisation.

“Commitment to the promotion of the poor, including their social promotion, is not foreign to the proclamation of the Gospel. On the contrary, it manifests the realism of Christian faith and its historical validity.

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. The poor save us because they enable us to encounter the face of Jesus Christ.”

He concludes by saying: “If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope.”

He then asks all Christian communities, and all those who feel impelled to offer hope, love and consolation to the poor, “To help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively, so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity.”

You can read the full text here: zenit.org/articles/popes-message-for-3rd-world-day-of-the-poor-full-text/

We will be holding a major event for the whole of our diocese in St Mary’s Cathedral, Middlesbrough, on Saturday November 16 to celebrate all the good work being carried out by the Church and by individual Catholics throughout our diocese, as well as hearing stories and experiences of those affected by poverty in all its various forms. All are welcome and it’s hoped that every parish in the diocese will be represent at this celebration.

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