Background: World Day of the Poor
November 19, 2023
On November 19, the Sunday before the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Church commemorates the 7th World Day of the Poor. The theme of the Pope’s message of the day, released on the memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the poor (June 13), is “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor” (Tobit 4:7).
The Dicastery for Evangelization has published a pastoral aid for the day.
In his 2016 apostolic letter Misericordia et misera, issued at the conclusion of the extraordinary jubilee of mercy, Pope Francis announced the institution of the World Day of the Poor:
During the “Jubilee for Socially Excluded People,” as the Holy Doors of Mercy were being closed in all the cathedrals and shrines of the world, I had the idea that, as yet another tangible sign of this Extraordinary Holy Year, the entire Church might celebrate, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the World Day of the Poor.
This would be the worthiest way to prepare for the celebration of the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, who identified with the little ones and the poor and who will judge us on our works of mercy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptized to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes (cf. Lk 16:19-21), there can be no justice or social peace. This Day will also represent a genuine form of new evangelization (cf. Mt 11:5) which can renew the face of the Church as she perseveres in her perennial activity of pastoral conversion and witness to mercy.
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