For the Vincentian Family, charity is a constant focus. Charity also is key to the United Nations, whose humanitarian work takes place internationally on a daily basis. But did you further know that the United Nations designates a particular day to highlight charity? September 5, which this year falls on a Wednesday, is specifically named “International Day of Charity.”
“Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies,” according to the UN. “Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.”
I think the UN would share views with Frederic Ozanam, who said, “Charity is the Samaritan who pours oil on the wounds of the traveler who has been attacked. It is Justice’s role to prevent the attack.” While offering immediate, humanitarian aid to victims of situations such as hunger, natural disasters, health crises, and conflict, the UN also works towards addressing root causes and developing policies which address them.
WHAT CAN WE DO
Some ideas for Vincentian Family members on International Day of Charity. Could you add other possibilities?
- Choose a Vincentian quote and reflect on/pray about it. Some can be found by clicking on the word “charity” by clicking here.
- Raise awareness about the importance of charity through social media
- Pray for hearts to be moved to acts of charity which empower others or alleviate their suffering
- Pray for the day charity is no longer needed because justice prevails
- Work towards systemic change and collective action which engages persons living in poverty and improves their lives
- Take action to strengthen trust, understanding, and peace among diverse groups
- Work for stronger communities and a sense of responsibility for one’s community. Check with local authorities about your community’s greatest need and organize an event to address it. Or speak with local legislators about promoting policies which enhance the situation of persons living in poverty.
- The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be grouped into six critical areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. Take action focusing upon one of these six areas.
- Donate to a charitable cause
- Volunteer with a charitable or social justice organization, such as a food pantry, services to persons living without homes, or a parish justice and peace committee
The United Nations, in December, 2012, passed the resolution designating September 5 as International Day of Charity. That date is the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The International Day was proposed by Hungary.
In its resolution, the UN reaffirmedthat the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It further recognized the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering within and among nations.
It also invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to commemorate the International Day of Charity in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.