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20131209nw1665 webA girl in Mexico eats a meal provided by the Helping Hands Association and Caritas, the Catholic relief and development organization. (CNS photo/courtesy of Caritas Internationalis)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- People must stand united against the scandal of hunger while avoiding food waste and irresponsible use of the world's resources, Pope Francis said.

People should "stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger firsthand," he said in a video message Dec. 9, launching a global campaign of prayer and action against hunger.

Organized by Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based federation of Catholic charities, a global "wave of prayer" was to begin at noon Dec. 10 on the South Pacific island of Samoa and head west across the world's time zones.

Pope Francis offered his blessing and support for the "One Human Family, Food For All" campaign in a video message released on the eve of the global launch.

With about 1 billion people still suffering from hunger today, "we cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist," he said in the message.

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, he said, but only "if there is the will" to respect the "God-given rights of everyone to have access to adequate food."

By sharing in Christian charity with those "who face numerous obstacles," the pope said, "we promote an authentic cooperation with the poor so that, through the fruits of their and our work, they can live a dignified life."

Pope Francis invited all people to act "as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world."

The Caritas campaign is also a way to invite people to pay attention to their own food choices, "which often lead to waste and a poor use of the resources available to us," the pope said.

Caritas Internationalis invited its 164 member organizations and local churches to pray for an end to hunger and malnutrition, by acting on a local, national or global level against food waste and in favor of food access and security worldwide.

Caritas is urging Catholics to take a few moments at noon Dec. 10 to join the world in praying against hunger, and to engage in long-term action through raising awareness, advocacy, charitable work or other efforts supporting food security.

The right to food is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the "Food For All" launch-date of Dec. 10 marks the U.N.'s Human Rights Day.

The Caritas campaign is calling on the United Nations to hold a session on the right to food at its 2015 General Assembly and is asking governments to guarantee the right to food in national legislation.

People can contact their local Caritas organization for more information or the campaign's main site at food.caritas.org.

 

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.