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Pope Francis urges everyone to think about poverty for World Day for the Poor

Staff writer, November 20, 2017 6:30PM AFP

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Pope Francis greets his hosts during a lunch at the Vatican. Picture: AP media_cameraPope Francis greets his hosts during a lunch at the Vatican. Picture: AP

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Pope Francis, the most senior member of the Catholic Church, urged the world think about poverty on the first World Day for the Poor.

The Pope encouraged people not to ignore poverty at a mass* attended by about 7000 poor people at prominent church St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at the weekend.

“We have the talents, we are talented in the eyes of God. Consequently*, no one can think that he or she is useless, so poor as to be incapable of giving something to others,” he said.

Poverty is the term used to describe the state of being very poor and unable to meet basic needs, including food, heath care and shelter.

To mark the World Day for the Poor, Pope Francis had lunch with about 1500 struggling people, while another 2500 were fed elsewhere.

“I’m not ashamed to be poor, I’m even proud of it when I see the solidarity* and generosity* that I saw today, with all those arms stretching out to take care of our little ones,” said guest Maria Lorena.

“We are materially* poor but rich in our faith and dignity.”

Guests came from around Europe to the event in Vatican City, the small city-state within Rome where the Pope lives.

A chef in charge of official Vatican meals prepared the dishes, including gnocchi, veal bites with vegetables and tiramisu.

“I am happy seeing all these people here but we must not just help them for a day, but throughout the year,” said Francesco.

“A day like this gives a little hope, we hope for good things for the future.”

Crowd outside the Vatican. Picture: AP/Andrew Medichini media_cameraCrowd outside the Vatican. Picture: AP/Andrew Medichini

Poverty is also a big issue in Australia.

According to the Australian Council of Social Service’s most recent study, there are three million Australians living in poverty. More than 730,000 of those are children.

Throughout the year a variety of charities work to help these people to find permanent accommodation, access education and food supplies.

Over coming weeks lots of these organisations will run Christmas appeals. They’ll be asking for money, gifts, food or other helpful items to distribute* to those in need over the holiday season and for the rest of the year.

GLOSSARY

  • mass: religious ceremony
  • consequently: because of something else
  • solidarity: in support of
  • generosity: giving
  • materially: relating to the possessions someone has
  • distribute: give out

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Think about it
Having a lunch for the poor is a nice idea.
Can you think of any ideas other ideas that might be helpful?

Is it surprising to you that there are three million people in poverty in Australia?
Do you think this OK?

What is a way you could help others at Christmas time?

Extension:
Find out who some of the organisations are who assist Australians in need over Christmas and how they help.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Needs and wants
Fold a sheet of paper in half to make two columns.
At the top of one column write NEED and at the top of the other column write the word WANT.

Now have a think about all of the things you and your family have.
If it is something that you must have in order to stay healthy and safe, write it down in the NEED column.
If it is something that you could survive without, write it in the WANT column.
Think of at least 10 items for each.

You do not need to show anyone else your list.

Extension:
Write down what you would say to Pope Francis if you could have a chat with him about World Day for the Poor.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
Christmas appeal for the poor
Write an article for the local newspaper to put in their Christmas edition asking family to donate to less fortunate people.
Think about some of the items that might be needed by families and how people can donate.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

EXTRA RESOURCES

WORLD UNITES FOR REMEMBRANCE DAY

CHARITY PLANS TO COOK 6 MILLION FREE MEALS

IS THE WORLD RUNNING OUT OF WATER?

CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES

PLASTIC BAG BAN TAKING HOLD


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