'Answering the Call'


On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, what can be done to help make the world a more equal place?


Events take place across the world today, October 17th, to mark the 25th UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The focus day was inspired by the work of Fr. Joseph Wresinski. Click here for more on Fr. Joseph and the founding of the UN Poverty Day.

The theme for this year is: 'Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies. 

In Ireland, a national event takes place at the Human Rights and Poverty Stone, on Custom House Quay in Dublin.

Ending poverty is Goal 1 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 2 is the ending of hunger. Events were held worldwide to mark Zero Hunger Day (formally known as World Food Day) which takes place annually on October 16th. 

To mark Zero Hunger Day day, Pope Francis yesterday simply tweeted: "Sharing requires conversion, and this is a challenge."

Back in Ireland, an event to 'link' both awareness days through the No Hunger, No Poverty Candlelight Vigil and Chain of Lights gathering was cancelled yesterday evening due to adverse weather conditions. 

The annual symbolic walk links Hunger Day and End Poverty Day, Goal 1 and 2 of the SDGs and our past with our future. A human chain of lights is created on Custom House Quay between the Famine Statues and the '17 October Human Rights and Poverty Stone'.


The scene at the 2016 'No Hunger, No Poverty Candlelight Vigil and Chain of Lights' gathering. Imagew courtesy of www.october17.ie.

Speaking ahead of the Poverty Day, Sr. Sheila Curran, RSM and AMRI Justice Desk, noted that 836 million people worldwide live in extreme poverty. Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have been highlighted as two regions with high numbers living on less than $1.25 per day.

One of the knock effects include the stunting of children with high numbers of children having inadequate height for his/her age.

Ireland does not escape either. The CSO reports that over 100,000 live in poverty on these shores while a further one in six are at risk of poverty.

Sr. Sheila also referenced Pope Francis' encyclical 'Evangelii Gaudium' - The Joy of the Gospel.

"Pope Francis...tells us that we are not exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice. It is only when we really do hear their cry, truly see their poverty and, in our hearts, know their suffering that we can work in solidarity with them in their struggle for justice. 

"It is the unequal distribution of resources along with decisions which favour the rich rather than the dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good that are at the heart of all economic policy.

"Pope Francis seeks a Church which is poor and for the poor. He is not referring to the building but to all of us who make up the people of God.  The only way this can happen is when we let the poor evangelise us, then and only then, will we act differently."


Image courtesy of www.linkedin.com.

- Links

  • Learn more about the 'Pact of the Catacombs' here
  • Click here to visit the AMRI website.
  • Click here to learn more about the October 17 movement in Ireland.
  • Visit the UN webpage for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty here.
  • Click here to visit the website of All Together in Dignity Fourth World - Ireland.
  • Learn more here about the SDGs.
  • View a list here of #EndPoverty events taking place across Ireland during October 10-23.
  • Read 'Evangelii Gaudium' here.