On Dec. 10th, 2013, Pope Francis is inviting the world to join him in a global wave of prayer to end world hunger that will begin at noon in Tonga, progressing around the world until reaching American Samoa 24 hours and 164 countries later.
Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Vatican-based federation of charities Caritas Internationalis, believes that world hunger can be eliminated by 2025. In a video message he said, "There is enough food to feed the planet. We believe that with your help and with the help of governments and the UN, we can end hunger by 2025."
A Dec. 10 event on the U.S. Capitol Lawn at noon has been organized by the Circle of Protection, a coalition of over 65 leaders of Christian faith groups. Eric Sapp of the American Values Network, which is working with the Circle of Protection, told The Huffington Post that the event is expected to draw a decent Congressional turnout. The timing of the call to end hunger is appropriate, as many are now feeling the pinch of the food stamps cuts that passed in September.
Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told the Huffington Post, “For people to go hungry in a land of plenty is unconscionable. Pope Francis’ focus on feeding the poorest and most vulnerable embodies the mission of the Catholic Church and is an inspiration to us all. I join members of the Catholic community in supporting his prayer wave to eliminate hunger and will keep fighting until our prayers are answered.”
The wave of prayer has been organized by the 164 member organizations of Caritas Internationalis, with Pope Francis' blessing. It will take place on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, to support the anti-hunger campaign, "One Human Family, Food For All."
Many people have signed a pledge on the Catholic Charities USA website that says:
I pledge to join millions of others across the globe in a worldwide prayer wave to combat hunger.
As part of One Human Family, Food for All, I will take a moment on Tuesday, December 10 at 12:00 p.m. in my time zone to pray for those who go without food or struggle to provide nourishment for themselves and their families.
I promise to use the most powerful weapon there is - prayer - to work to change hearts and systems, ensuring that all who are hungry may find nourishment, strength, and peace.
The effort is in line with the social and economic justice that Pope Francis has been calling for throughout his papacy. The pope is a fierce advocate for the poor and marginalized, in both his personal conduct and his public rhetoric.
His apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" made waves for its straightforward attack on inequality of all kinds, as he wrote, "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."
This isn't the first time he's called the world to unite in prayer, as on September 7, 2013, he led a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria.