On February 4th, the members of the Conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP), the branches of the Vincentian Family, the worldwide Church and all people celebrated the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HUMAN FRATERNITY.
This day was designated at the UN General Assembly in 2020, at a time when the world was confronting the global crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, which exacerbated poverty, isolation and social inequalities, and resulted in economic recession and, regretfully, in thousands of deaths all over the world.
In these difficult times, with a large part of the population experiencing hardship and deprivation, the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HUMAN FRATERNITY underlines the importance of raising awareness about different cultures, religions or beliefs, since this societal acceptance should contribute to improve the lives of people.
Human fraternity is not just about solidarity (tangible part). It is also about listening lovingly to those who suffer, about renewed multilateral cooperation among peoples and the need for greater unity among nations, based on the acceptance of people as they are (promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination and prejudice), while tackling together the socio-economic crisis we are currently experiencing.
To commemorate this day, His Holiness Pope Francis published the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Therein he stated that fraternity is the only possible path for humanity so badly damaged by war and indifference: “Either we are brothers and sisters, or everything falls apart”.
Pope Francis stressed, “This time of pandemic has shown that […] we are not saved alone! […] “We all live under the same heaven, independently of where and how we live, the colour of our skin, religion, social group, sex, age, economic conditions or our state of health. All of us are different yet equal […] and we […] must acknowledge that we are brothers and sisters. […] Fraternity is one of the fundamental and universal values that ought to ground relationships between peoples.”
According to Pope Francis, “the path of fraternity is long and challenging, yet it is the anchor of salvation for humanity. Let us counter the many threatening signs, times of darkness and mindsets of conflict with the sign of fraternity […].” Finally, Pope Francis encouraged everyone to be committed to the cause of peace, and to respond concretely to the problems and needs of the poor and the defenseless.
Click below to read the Pope’s full message in five languages (Italian, French, English, Spanish and Arabic):