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Opening prayer
Creator God, we stand on the shoulders of giants who have fought for decades to eliminate poverty
from our world. Grant us the wisdom to apply what we have learned and committed to this week. May
we forbear in our efforts in anticipation of helping to achieve a just world in which no one goes to bed
hungry and all have access to affordable health care and permanent shelter. Amen.
Scripture passage
Acts of the Apostles 4: 32-35
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions
was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person
among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale,
and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

Brian Corbin, Sr. V.P. Social Policy, Catholic Charities USA
“Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty” marks this
year’s theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This theme
highlights a global effort in “identifying and securing the participation of those
experiencing extreme poverty and social exclusion.”

One of the key messages of the early Church focused on building a community wherein
everyone shared, so that no one had a “need.” In Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35, we read how
believers – experiencing a change of heart and mind – would sell off some of their assets
and give the proceeds to the Apostles, who would then ensure that all members of the
community had their basic necessities met. That early Church community worked to build
a society where all were included and no one suffered in their poverty. That early Christian
community aimed to eradicate – or at least reduce -- poverty in its midst to the best of its
ability. No one was left out.
Pope Francis in his video tape message to those gathered in Charlotte, NC for the Catholic
Charities Annual Gathering noted that:

“…We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer
simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately
has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those
excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised –
they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the
outcast, the ‘leftovers’.” (Joy of the Gospel, # 53) [The excluded]… are leftovers, they
are surplus. No one is to be a “leftover.” No one is to be “excluded” from God’s love
and from our care. (see

The Church’s social teaching, as articulated in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the
Church, #325, notes that we are called to build the kingdom of God through our solidarity
and sharing, treating each other as brother and sister. The Kingdom of God -- while never
complete here and now -- is sown in the “here and now” with each act of love and mercy.
We are called to include those previously excluded. The Church is called to be, in Pope
Francis’ challenge, a “voice for the ‘cry of the poor.’”

Through our work in Catholic Charities, we help to build bridges of solidarity and sharing
between peoples. We help people to learn, think and act anew about ways of bringing
people together to reduce poverty and build compassionate communities. Catholic
Charities USA promoted its plan to reduce poverty in its 2006 “Poverty in America: A
Threat to the Common Good” policy paper focusing on five critical pillars: education and
workforce development, family economic security, health, housing and hunger. Catholic
Charities USA continues to search for ways to design programs and social policies that
foster system changing means to reduce poverty that are evidence based and results
driven, along with fostering new and creative private/public and private partnerships and

We continue to work each day in our local services and national presence to reduce
poverty in our country and throughout the world. We can and do learn much when we
accompany those who are under-resourced; we learn much when hear the voice of the
poor about what they need and want, and more importantly, what assets and gifts that they
bring to the table that we all share.

Please join us as we continue in that journey of building the Kingdom of God where no one
is lost but rather all are welcomed to share that joy.

General Intercession
For the intentions of the staff, volunteers, and donors of Caritas Internationalis, we pray to the Lord.

Catholic Social Teaching
Catholic Church. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church ibreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004, #325.
Jesus takes up the entire Old Testament tradition even with regard to economic goods, wealth and
poverty, and he gives them great clarity and fullness (cf. Mt 6:24, 13:22; Lk 6:20-24, 12:15-21; Rom 14:6-
8; 1 Tim 4:4). Through the gift of his Spirit and the conversion of hearts, he comes to establish the
“Kgm f G”, s h w mr f s f s m pssb, jus, brhrh,
solidarity and sharing. The Kingdom inaugurated by Christ perfects the original goodness of the created
order and of human activity, which were compromised by sin. Freed from evil and being placed once
more in communion with God, (man) is able to continue the work of Jesus, with the help of his Spirit. In
this, (man) is called to render justice to the poor, releasing the oppressed, consoling the afflicted,
actively seeking a new social order in which adequate solutions to material poverty are offered and in
which the forces thwarting the attempts of the weakest to free themselves from conditions of misery
and slavery are more effectively controlled. When this happens, the Kingdom of God is already present
on this earth, although it is not of the earth. It is in this Kingdom that the promises of the Prophets find
final fulfilment.