Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for November, inviting everyone to pray for the millions of children who are suffering around the world, especially for those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war.
“An abandoned child is our fault,” says Pope Francis in the video prepared by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network announcing his prayer intention for November.
In the video, Pope Francis calls on Catholics to pray for children who are suffering due to rejection, indigence, poverty, and conflict around the world.
“There are still millions of boys and girls who suffer and live in conditions very similar to slavery,” the Pope said, emphasizing that these children are not “numbers” but “human beings with names and an identity that God has given them.”
Every marginalized child living without schooling, without a family, without health care, the Pope continued, is “a cry;” a cry “that rises up to God and shames the system that we adults have built.”
Every child has the right to access basic needs
The Pope continued by saying every child should have the right to access basic services and be able to feel the warmth and love of a family: “We can no longer allow them to feel alone and abandoned — they are entitled to an education and to feel the love of a family so they know that God does not forget them.”
One billion children living in poverty
According to UNICEF, one billion children currently live in “multidimensional poverty” — that is without basic access to education, health care, shelter, food, sanitation, or water; the agency also estimates that 153 million children are orphans.
Fr. Frédéric Fornos, S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, provided his thoughts on the November prayer intention, saying that this month, Pope Francis “opens our eyes, ears, and hearts to millions of forgotten children who suffer in silence on the streets and in hidden labour, victims of violence and war, migrants and refugees. In the face of indifference and impotence, we must pray.”
It is our responsibility, the Pope concluded in the video, that no child feels left alone or abandoned — “they are entitled to an education and to feel the love of a family so they know that God does not forget them.”
Below is a translation of the Pope’s video message
There are still millions of boys and girls who suffer and live in conditions very similar to slavery.
They aren’t numbers: they are human beings with names, with a face of their own, with an identity that God has given them.
Too often, we forget our responsibility and we close our eyes to the exploitation of these children who don’t have a right to play, to study, to dream. They don’t even enjoy the warmth of a family.
Each marginalized child, abandoned by his or her family, without schooling, without healthcare, is a cry! A cry that rises up to God and shames the system that we adults have built.
An abandoned child is our fault.
We can no longer allow them to feel alone and abandoned —they are entitled to an education and to feel the love of a family so they know that God does not forget them.
Let us pray for children who are suffering, especially for those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war. May they be guaranteed access to education and may they have the opportunity to experience family affection.
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.