Washington, DC is not known as a place that can bring people together. However, today something remarkable is happening as members of the Circle of Protection and faith leaders from multiple denominations participate in a global wave of prayer for an end to hunger. The prayer service launches a Caritas Internationalis campaign, which is supported by Pope Francis. Prayers will take place at noon in every time zone around the world creating a “wave” around the globe.
In Washington, Faith leaders like Fr. Larry Snyder (President of Catholic Charities USA); Rev. David Bekmann (President of Bread for the World); Jim Wallis (President of Sojourners); Galen Carey (National Association of Evangelicals); Sister Marge Clark, BVM (NETWORK); Rev. Gabriel Salguero (National Latino Evangelical Coalition); Maj. Darryl Leedom (Salvation Army); Rev. Diane Ford Dessables (United Church of Christ) and others will gather at the U.S. Capitol building to join the global effort.
“Christians may differ in our doctrines, worship styles and patterns of governance, but we are united in the conviction that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ calls us to care for poor and hungry people,” said Galen Carey, the Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Evangelicals. “At a time when we remember the birth of our Savior in a borrowed barn, attended by shepherds, we join in prayer that all people will enjoy the food that God so graciously enables us to grow. We ask God to bless the efforts of private charity and public assistance programs and enable both to serve the common good.”
This day has particular importance for American Catholics. The Christmas season often allows us to be thankful for the surpluses in our lives: the family we are fortunate to be surrounded by, the communities we are a part of, and the gifts we receive. Moments like this remind us that we need to recall those who go without.
Pope Francis tells us that, “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
At this critical moment, Congress is considering deeper cuts to one of the most successful anti-hunger programs in the United States. Recent cuts to SNAP, or food stamps, have resulted in the loss of 10 million meals a day. Nearly 5 million of those meals were taken away from children.
It is too easy to look at these numbers as balance sheet and think in terms of “savings.” When we do, we fail to remember that each of these cuts represents those on the margins of society—children, the elderly—who will go without food.
Join today at noon in the global “wave” of prayer to end hunger around the globe and to pray that families struggling to lift themselves out of poverty have the support of a strong social safety net.