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As we begin 2017 so many opportunities to make the world a better place call for our attention.

The Vincentian Family marks the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Confraternity of Charity and the birth of the Vincentian Family charism. There are also two independent but related initiatives. The United States Bishops ask us to use next week to educate ourselves on the facts and issue of National Migration Week. They also offer us a calendar for the month of January which has been designated Poverty Awareness Month.

National Migration Week with the theme of “Creating a Culture of Encounter” takes place January 8- 14. “A culture of encounter” is one of Pope Francis’ often stressed themes. What does Pope Francis really mean by a culture of encounter?

The Bishops offer a very rich calendar complete with relevant links (PDF) for each day of January during National Poverty Awareness Month. Heere is a starter question. Can you feed, clothe, shelter and educate a family of 4  on at the Federal Poverty Level of $24,000 per year?

The Vincentian Family begins a year of celebration of our 400th birthday celebrating the theme of “Welcoming the stranger”.  As befits a family present in well over 150 countries here is a link to a site that provides initial resources in 3 languages. What is your guess about how many are in the Vincentian Family? 10,000, 100,000? 1 million? 2 million? (Between one and 2 million). In how many different countries do they serve? (Over 150)

Each of these events attempts to make the world a better place. So come back often to learn more about how you can do your part to make the world a better place. We all know the saying that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Let’s set the world ablaze with our candles – your candle and my candle.