Live more simply at Christmas and share what you have with others

New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops are asking their congregations and the wider community to remember in our Christmas preparations our neighbours who struggle to put food on their table for their families.

As the Catholic Church’s Caritas Internationalis confederation undertakes a day-long international Wave of Prayer on Tuesday 10 December to launch a food campaign: One human family - food for all, Archbishop John Dew asks that New Zealanders keep a special place in their hearts and on their Christmas shopping lists for people in need.

‘Our preparation for Christmas in the season of Advent is a time of waiting for a child who was born in poverty, in a stable because there was no place that would take in his family,’ says Archbishop John, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.

‘For some New Zealanders, Christmas is becoming a time of over-consumption, while for others it is a time of great stress and anxiety to meet their basic necessities. It would be good if all of us could think about how we can live a bit more simply this Christmas and, wherever possible, reach out to someone who might be struggling even just a bit more than we are ourselves.’

Archbishop John says there are many ways that people could assist others, from donating to a foodbank or soup kitchen, to giving food as a Christmas gift to neighbours or friends, or inviting someone over for a meal.

New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops produced a statement on The Hunger in our Midst for the Catholic Church’s 2012 Social Justice Week focus on food, which recognised the food insecurity of many New Zealand households. The statement said our participation in the Eucharist demands that we address the needs of people in the world who do not have what they need to survive, including in our own country.

In a video produced for the Caritas Internationalis food campaign, Caritas Internationalis president Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maridiaga, who visited New Zealand recently, said there is enough food to feed the planet. A video message from Pope Francis on the right to food will be released on 10 December.