1. January is Poverty Awareness Month, an effort promoted by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ anti-poverty program. Special background on poverty can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/povertyusa/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=77454
2. Today is the feast of St. Basil. In a much-quoted homily he once declared that the bread we clutch in our hands belongs to the starving, the cloak we keep locked in our closet belongs to the naked, the shoes we are not using belong to the barefooted. Read more from a reflection on how to live a good Catholic life in this age of rampant consumption.
3. From the edge of the fiscal cliff there is still a need to be sure the Congress does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor. Budgetary deliberations should be assessed by whether they protect or threaten human life and dignity, should prioritize the needs of “the least of these,” and should recognize that government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all. To understand the church position on budgetary issues see letter available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/federal-budget-letter-congress-2012-12-14.pdf
4. The theme for Pope Benedict XVI’s 2013 Message for the World Day of Peace (January 1) is “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” The message reminds us at that we all have a role to play in building peace in our communities and world and focuses on human dignity, rights and responsibilities, and the fiftieth anniversary of John XXIII's Pacem in Terris. The text of the pope's message in English can be found online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121208_xlvi-world-day-peace_en.html The text of the pope's message in Spanish can be found online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121208_xlvi-world-day-peace_sp.html
5. God loves you!