We are all one family in the world. Building a community that empowers everyone to attain their full potential through each of us respecting each other’s dignity, rights and responsibilities makes the world a better place to live.

Sollicitudo rei socialis – ‘On Social Concern’ (1987)

“Solidarity is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.” Joseph Donders,  John Paul II: The Encyclicals in Everyday Language

Introduction

Further explanation

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REFLECTION:

1. In Memoriam

Cathy Scott recalls International Aids Day 2006 which she spent in Malawi. She explains the moving sermon she heard which emphasised taking responsibility to help prevent the spread of Aids and remembering those affected.

2. Praying with the Poor

Former MP John Battle reflects on taking up the cause of the poor and oppressed in ways that respect them as agents of their own liberation.

3. A Third Woman’s Story

The Medaille Trust has helped thousands of women who are trafficked into the UK. Here a woman helped by the trust reflects on the love and care shown to her during this time in her life.

4. Togetherness

livesimply is about being true to who we are, remembering we are bound together in creation and we must shy away from globalisation.

5. The poorest deserve the best

The poorest deserve better. Rowan Williams reflects on the Israel – Palestine conflict to amplify this simple message.

6. Solidarity in Fond Parisien, Haiti

Daniela Peirano a Progressio Development Worker in Fond Parisien, on the border of Haiti reflects on the solidarity shown in the community there who have welcome 35,000 displaced people.

 Prayers:

7. The Grail prayer

This prayer reflects on the importance of our relationship of solidarity with God. I give you my hands to do your work, I give you my feet to go your way, I give you my eyes to see as you do…

Source: http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/solidarity/reflection/

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SOLIDARITY STORIES:

1. Volunteering as a journey to solidarity

Volunteering overseas has gained a bad reputation of being an exploitive project which helps the volunteer more than the locals in developing countries. What we should remember though, is the benefit that can be offered on the volunteers’ return – such as giving financial support as well as being inspired to campaign on issues such as Drop the Debt Campaign.

2. Reaching out to vulnerable women

A worker for the National Childbirth Trust, Rose McCarthy, supports the many women who are socially excluded, including asylum seekers and refugees in Yorkshire. Rose works collaboratively with the aid of several organisations and Churches.

3. Solidarity Investment in Oikocredit: an investment in people

Ethical economy, finance and business are all at the heart of society and consequently of God’s Kingdom. Processes of microcredit and microfinance are praiseworthy and deserve support. This article describes how one family in Bolivia is supported with microfinance from a community based initiative.

4. Solidarity as a way of life

Ivanete lives with others in solidarity, as ‘the dignity of homeless people always comes first’. Working with homeless people she helps to offer alternatives to life on the street or in run down and rat infested buildings, ensuring homeless people are housed in adequate accommodation.

5. Standing in solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis

Nasreen and her husband live in Hebron with their three children in a Palestinian occupied territory in Hebron; they are often visited by Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night who demand to search their house. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) helps people like Nasreen providing a protective presence of volunteers in East Jerusalem; ensuring voices are heard on both sides.

6. Global Solidarity

The importance of Catholic Global Solidarity is demonstrated by working towards progressive disarmament. Pope Benedict has also recently highlighted that a serious challenge to Catholics is military spending and developing nuclear arsenals. On Ash Wednesday 2010 Christians gathered in Whitehall for a liturgy of repentance and resistance to nuclear war preparations, to contribute to God’s path of peace and love.

7. Companions leads to deeper understanding and respect

Linking school children in Britain to their counterparts overseas can have great benefits in enhancing an understanding and deeper learning of different cultures, as well as helping to shed preconceived stereotypes from a young age.

8. Solidarity in a Chilean Mine

The rescue of 33 Chilean miners in October 2010 saw international celebration with positive news stories reported around the world. The solidarity that was shown by the authorities’ committed to the lives of those trapped, as well as the solidarity between the miners underground cannot be underestimated in the process of securing their safe rescue.

9. Solidarity in the face of adversity

In mid October 2010, former Haitian Prime Minister Michelle Pierre Louis visited the UK and gave a series of talks with the main message of keeping the plight of Haiti firmly grounded in policy makers’ agendas. Michelle’s message was one of hope and courage in the face of adversity to make sure Haiti isn’t forgotten.

http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/solidarity/stories/

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