Sunday November 19 was the first-ever World Day of the Poor, a special day set aside by the Catholic Church to focus on the needs and gifts of our poorest sisters and brothers.
Pope Francis celebrated the day with a homily in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis encouraged us to find strength in our ability to love: “Here we see true goodness and strength: not in closed fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the wounded flesh of the Lord.”
Pope Francis himself demonstrated this open, loving nature by providing free medical care for impoverished people just outside St. Peter’s Square. The participants were also invited to attend the mass in which Pope Francis preached, and to a three-course luncheon following the mass.
Pope Francis reminded us that true joy does not lie in material possessions: “So let us not seek for ourselves more than we need, but rather what is good for others, and nothing of value will be lacking to us.”
Climate change disproportionately affects poor people, who contribute to it least and are most vulnerable to its consequences. By justly stewarding the resources we were given, we can protect our vulnerable brothers and sisters and deepen our own experience of love.
For those who have financial resources, divestment from fossil fuels works for the greater good of protecting impoverished people. Fossil fuels are the greatest drivers of climate change, which in turn is a driver of poverty, sickness, and instability.
To learn more about stepping away from dirty energy, check the fossil-free divestment toolkit. It provides an overview of Catholic teaching on creation, a how-to guide for decision-makers, and case studies from institutions that have already made the switch.