Pope Francis has released his message for the annual World Day of the Poor which will be celebrated this year on Sunday 19 November. His message calls on us to personally get involved in tackling poverty in all its forms.

Pope Francis stresses that “a great river of poverty is traversing our cities and swelling to the point of overflowing; it seems to overwhelm us, so great are the needs of our brothers and sisters who plead for our help, support and solidarity.”

“We are living in times that are not particularly sensitive to the needs of the poor. The pressure to adopt an affluent lifestyle increases, while the voices of those dwelling in poverty tend to go unheard.” He identifies “new forms of poverty” such as “peoples caught up in situations of war”, the “inhumane treatment” of many workers, and “speculation in various sectors”, which he said had led to “dramatic price increases that further impoverish many families”.

Pope Francis says we must heed Tobit’s words to Tobias: “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor.” “The parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37) is not simply a story from the past; it continues to challenge each of us in the here and now of our daily lives. It is easy to delegate charity to others, yet the calling of every Christian is to become personally involved.”

Caritas Diocese of Plymouth will be holding an event at St Rita’s in Honiton on Saturday 14 October to explore Pope Francis’ message and to discuss how we as a church are responding to those in poverty and what more we can do. This free event will run from 10.30-15.30 and will include a lunch. We hope that you will come and join us. You can register here to attend

Pope Francis’ full message is here.