11/18/2017, 16.43
INDIA

For Card Gracias, World Day of the Poor is an opportunity to be a “Church of the Poor for the Poor”

Nirmala Carvalho

The ACTS project has been launched to provide help to the needy, involving all of the parishes of Mumbai archdiocese. The cardinal will share a meal with the poor. Caritas India launches an initiative to counter child malnutrition.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Card Oswald Gracias, a "friend of the poor", has enthusiastically responded to Pope Francis's appeal for tomorrow’s ‘World Day of the Poor’.

For the occasion, the Archdiocese of Mumbai has decided to join force with ACTS, ‘Actively called to serve’, a project to help the poor, regardless of caste and race.

Using social media, the cardinal has called on his fellow Catholics to contribute and to be a source of joy for the less fortunate.

Each parish has been urged to set up containers for donations. Everyone is urged to contribute.

The various items to be collected include pulses, rice, sugar and toiletries. Once the collection is done, the items will be subdivided and placed into bags, which the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Centre for Community Organisation will hand out to the needy.

Tomorrow evening, the cardinal himself will share at dinner with the poor. A dear friend of Mother Teresa, Mgr Gracias has always been sensitive to the fate of the needy.

In 2013 he launched the Advent Campaign for people in trouble in Asia’s largest slum.

In his statement, he writes that tomorrow “is a day to rediscover our call to be a Church of the poor for the poor” for “Our Lord gave us the striking example of simplicity and poverty in His own life”.

“The first beatitude says, ‘Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’.” Hence, “In our Archdiocese, all parishes have been invited to have at least one programme for the poor, big or small, depending on the possibilities of the parish.”

In the same vain, Caritas India director Fr Frederick D'Souza spoke to AsiaNews about the charity’s work to help children suffering from malnutrition in the poorest states of India.

"A special nutrition programme has been prepared for nine districts and will be implemented next week,” he said.

Pope Francis launched the first World Day of the Poor so that the Christian community as a whole can reach out to the poor, the weak, the men and women whose dignity has been trampled upon.

To mark the day, more than 4,000 needy people and others will attend the Mass the pontiff will celebrate tomorrow in St Peter's Basilica, which will be followed by a festive lunch.

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