Every year, on October 17th, humanity reflects on the “International Day for the Eradication of Poverty”, an initiative declared by the United Nations in 1992 in recognition of the work of the Servant of God Joseph Wresinski, a French priest who gathered approximately 100,000 people in 1987 at the Human Rights and Liberty Square in Paris to defend the excluded.
Last week, Pope Francis addressed the Redemptorists who were in Rome to participate in the 26th General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. He stressed in depth the theme of poverty, emphasizing that it is necessary to renew the mission and to be more audacious for those most in need. The Pope made it clear that poverty is not the result of destiny, but rather a consequence of selfishness. For him, the poor suffer injustice, indifference and aversion.
In the message, the Pontiff recommended that we should not be afraid to take new paths and get our hands dirty in the service of the most needy. The Holy Father stressed that charitable work must aim at humility, unity, wisdom and discernment. And that the renewal of the Church goes through a process of conversion of heart and mind and above all through a true “change of structures”.
At the end of His message, the Pope asked the Lord to be faithful and persevering in the mission, without ever forgetting the poorest and most abandoned whom we serve with humility and charity. In the same week, in another sermon, the Pope appealed to governments around the world to implement public policies for the development of people focusing on the creation of work and not on welfare programs that perpetuates misery.
“Where men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To unite to ensure that these rights are respected is our solemn duty.”
Servant of God Joseph Wresinski (1917-1988)