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13 MAY 2013
Based upon our 2013 WUCWO Priority:  Peace in Action:
Reduce Poverty, Violence and Trafficking, Support Migrants
2013 WUCWO DAY OF PRAYER THEME:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”
OPENING HYMN:  The Servant’s Song (Richard Gillard)

1. Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
2. We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
4. I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.
5. When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.
(Repeat Verse #1)
OPENING PRAYER:  We gather united as Catholic women around the world praying this service together.  We focus our prayer on our WUCWO priority of Peace in Action.  We offer our prayers that we might receive the grace to advocate and work effectively to end the poverties of hunger, violence, intolerance, and complacency.  We pray that our efforts will lead to a world of peace and equality.  A world that delights the Creator and lives according to His will.  We pray for unfailing hope to sustain us as we pursue His work and ask that we always feel His love flow to and from our hearts as we strive to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Amen.
The Poverty of Hunger
“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?”  (James 2:15-16).
In this day of instant global communication, all of us are acutely aware that in many countries thousands upon thousands of our sisters and brothers are suffering from unrelenting hunger. Every day, too many mothers’ hearts break as they hold a child dying from starvation, now too weak to cry, and surviving children suffer in mental and physical progress from a lack of proper nutrition. 
This is poverty.  And we are aware.
The reading from James says faith is not enough, words are not enough.  Faith without action is meaningless.  Stop and think what your actions are, what they could be:  Are you willing to pray; to give your time to make others more aware that this is not happening someplace far away to people we don’t know but to our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ; to give your money sacrificially; or your presence and talent to help stop this heartbreak?
You are aware of this poverty; what can, what will you do for these, your brothers?
The Poverty of Violence
"The wicked flee when no man gives chase, but the righteous are as bold as lions." (Proverbs 28:1)
Each day, the wonders of technology alert us instantly to the violence and suffering of our fellow sojourners on this Earth as they flee or are made to endure the horrors of war and lawless unprincipled leaders.  We also learn the plight of women and children abused and of young persons trafficked and subjected to a life of terror and slavery; Young people growing up much too soon, torn from those who love them and thrust into a world of difficult unending work and no love.  Babies killed before their birth through abortion.   A violent world.
This is poverty.  And we are aware.
This powerful message in the Book of Proverbs alerts us that we need to be as bold as lions.  Complacency permits evil to flourish but steady courage and action can and must end these situations.  Alert your government that injustice cannot, will not be tolerated and pray for our sisters and brothers caught in the crossfire of conflicts and corrupt leaders they do not understand or wish.  Work to end abuse and trafficking and the horror and despair of these despicable actions.  Assist in the establishment of safe havens to help reintroduce care, love, and purpose into the lives of those escaping these situations. Give hope, support and assistance to mothers so that they do not feel that aborting their child is their only option.  We must find the courage of a lion to speak out in national and international fora for those who do not have a voice.  Let the end of wars and all kinds of violence be our goal and our prayer.
You are aware of this poverty; what can, what will you do for these, your brothers?
The Poverty of Intolerance to Migrants
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.  (Leviticus 19:33-34)
People fear change. They fear those not like themselves coming to their land and introducing new customs and speaking a different language.  They forget in their fear that we are all God’s children; each of us loved dearly and uniquely by our Father. They fail to see His delight in our differences and they work to place legal and social obstacles in the lives of migrants. Most persons do not want to leave their home and family. They are forced to do so by reasons beyond their control: climate change making their land useless for harvest, a government persecuting them for their ethnicity or religion, outbreaks of war and civil unrest. The reasons are many and true. These migrants come to us hoping for a better life; in some cases, hoping for life itself. Yet, they are met with hostility, barriers, and sometimes acts of violence against their person. They take menial work or they subsist in tent cities and deeply feel a lack of dignity or acceptance. They are made to feel apart, alone, threatened and unwanted.
This is poverty.  And we are aware.
We are the children of God living by the message of the Christ.  We know that we are to help, not hinder our brothers and sisters seeking a new and better life among us.  No matter where we live, we all need to feel loved and accepted.  It is our responsibility to assist those in need in our own land just as much as in places far away.  Let us pray and work that migrants can experience life free from fear of reprisal; free from hatred and free from the poverty they sacrifice so dearly to escape.  Work actively to advocate for justice and eliminate the barriers placed in their lives. 
You are aware of this poverty; what can, what will you do for these, your brothers?
The Poverty of Complacency
 “I hate to see complacency prevail in our lives when it's so directly contrary to the teaching of Christ.”  (Former USA President, Jimmy Carter)
In “developed countries”, too many wander homeless and too many children go to school hungry while others suffer from a poverty of family life, failing to learn morality and what is truly important in this life.  Exposure to media depictions of what is “glamorous” separate young people from the true core values of a life lived with God.  The relentless drive to accumulate more and more possessions and live in ever larger houses and to do whatever you wish, even at the expense of your family, because you can afford it creates a false God of money and selfish entitlement.  
This is poverty.  And we are aware.
A spirit of complacency to the poor and to the decline of the morals and values that made civilizations walk in the way of the Lord is a great and destructive poverty.  It is a poverty that closes our eyes to our responsibilities and makes justification of bad choices easy.  It is an insidious poverty and a true threat to our lives as children of God.
 You are aware of this poverty; what can, what will you do for these, your brothers?
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:  8-9)
All these poverties add up to millions of persons never reaching their potential, never being able to make their unique contribution to our world before they die.  It is a terrible cycle of despair that continues unbroken and all that might be, that which should be, in and through these lives, is lost.
All this is poverty.  And yes, we are aware.  We are aware of this terrible evil and how much suffering it causes.  But, as followers of Christ, we do not despair for we know that we are called to action.  Each act of righting a wrong is made in His name for we are doing it for Him.  Our actions may be quite small or they may play out on the world stage.  It doesn’t matter; what matters is that we do all we can to make this a better world for each other.  As Catholics, we know it is our privilege and our responsibility to hope and to act; to change a world of poverty to a world free from hunger, free from oppression, violence, and evil.  Hope is our anchor –our lifeline to the world that is meant to be.  It is our hope and our faith in the goodness of God that allows us to dare to believe that this world can become God’s kingdom of love on Earth.  We know that it is up to each one of us to make this world what it can be, what it is meant to be.  To move from the bounds of selfishness to a spirit of solidarity with all who live on this beautiful planet, the home given to us by our God for this life.  To understand and believe wholeheartedly that we are one people, together, responsible to and for each other, as Christ taught us and as the Church reminds us.
“Interdependence must be transformed into solidarity, based upon the principle that the goods of creation are meant for all….Solidarity helps us to see the ‘other’ whether a person, people or nation, not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our neighbor…”  (Sollicitudo Rei Sociallis #39)
These words of solidarity bear the message of Christ that binds us together.
Let us each one examine our conscience in the light of the message of Christ and ask ourselves if we are trying to go beyond our selfishness to see the good in everyone; to see the potential in all peoples around the globe, to be one with them, and to do all we can to make break the cycle of poverty in all its evil aspects.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’  (Matthew 25: 31-40).
QUIET TIME FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION based on the Gospel reading bearing in mind the thought:
You are aware; so what can, what will you do for these, your brothers?
After the time permitted for personal reflection has come to a close, the Leader calls all to unity again with the following:
We pray, Lord, that we be ever aware of the injustices in this world and strive to renew our world as one of peace and equality.  Keep us mindful of the needs of our fellow sisters and brothers on this beautiful planet you have given us as our home and let our faith and actions unite to make this the world You envision for us and for Your glory.  Through Christ, Our Lord.  Amen
HYMN:  Whatsoever You Do To The Least of My Brothers (Rev. Willard Jabusch)

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.

When I was hungry, you gave me to eat;
When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink.
Now enter into the home of My Father.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.

When I was homeless, you opened your door;
When I was naked, you gave me your coat.
Now enter into the home of My Father.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.

When I was weary, you helped me find rest.
When I was anxious, you calmed all my fears.
Now enter into the home of My Father.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.
When in a prison you came to my cell.
When on a sick bed you cared for my needs.
Now enter into the home of My Father
Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.
When I was laughed at you stood by my side.
When I was happy you shared in my joy.
Now enter into the home of My Father.
Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me.
Leader:  We offer our prayers to God, confident in His loving attention:
Response:  We pray to the Lord
Leader:  That we will have the courage and hope required to work to make a world free from the poverties of hunger, violence, intolerance, and complacency. R/
Leader:  That all people will have access to the fundamental items required for a dignified and fulfilling life: shelter, food, clothing, medicine, education appropriate to their abilities, meaningful work, and loving acceptance R/
Leader:  That governments will listen to the voice of the people and shape policy to promote social equality, justice, environmental stewardship, and peace R/
Leader:  That all people will be free to know and worship God R/
Leader:  That all who are wounded by life will know the healing and gracious power of our loving God that they may once again live in hope   R/
Leader:  That all people will receive what they need to accomplish the unique mission for which they were created R/
Leader:  That we embrace the privilege and responsibility granted to us to be our brother’s keeper R/
Leader:  That we remain faithful and grow ever stronger in our prayer and action for justice and the elimination of poverty and violence in this world as taught by Christ and fostered by the Church R/
Leader:  That Catholic women of the world, lay and consecrated, will have the strength, courage and ability to demonstrate their unique feminine understanding and love of God and compassion and care for all His creation R/
Leader: That all mothers will receive the grace to accept and embrace the extraordinary blessing and responsibility given them in a culture of Life and will instill in their children a love of God and their fellow men R/
Leader:  That families will remain strong units of society with husband and wife cherishing each other and guiding their children in love R/
Leader:  For our Holy Mother, the Church on Earth: the Pope, bishops, clergy, religious, and lay persons, that together we may spread the love of Christ to all in the New Evangelization R/
Leader:  That we always remember and live Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves R/
Those who instruct many unto justice will shine as stars for all eternity. (Proverbs 10:7)
Lord, grant they we may shine, carrying the light of justice, as we work and speak for the poor and the oppressed.  Let us carry your words in our mouths and in our hearts.  Please grant that, in doing so, we may gain the shining loving light of eternity with you.  Amen.
Together, let us recite the words that Jesus gave us:
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  Amen
This year of Peace in Action causes us to think especially of Our Lady, Our Queen of Peace.  We pray that she will ask her divine Son to bestow the graces needed to advocate and act for peace, to end the poverties of hunger, violence, intolerance, and complacency.  We ask these things confident in her great maternal love and feel the warmth of her embrace as we pray:
O Loving God, your Son, Jesus, came into this world to do your will and leave us His peace. Through the intercession and example of our Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, grant us the wisdom and humility to reflect that peace to the world. Inspire our thoughts, words and deeds to bear witness to your presence in our hearts. May your Holy Spirit fill us with every grace and blessing so that we may pursue what leads to peace for all humanity. Amen.
  (Karen Hurley, WUCWO President-General 2006-2010)
We conclude our Prayer Service, cognizant that we go forth to pray and work for a world of peace; a world in which all of our brothers and sisters will live lives of dignity, free from all forms of poverty, with souls filled with the love that our Saviour taught us as we follow His command to love our neighbour as ourselves.

CLOSING HYMN:  Let There Be Peace On Earth (Sy Miller and Jill Jackson)

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.
With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow:
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally,
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
Prepared by the North American Region