Statement by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge
on Poverty Awareness Month 2022

It is fitting in January, as we continue our celebration of the birth of our Savior, that we also observe Poverty Awareness Month. Indeed, our Lord has a special love for the poor, and as his followers, so do we.

We need not look far to see poverty, for it is visible all around us, in the lives of neighbors and, perhaps, in our own families. One in 10 Virginians lives in poverty. This poverty is most apparent when we see those who lack the material or financial resources they need to be well fed and to have safe shelter and meaningful employment that enables them to provide for themselves and their families and thrive in their daily lives. We also express concern for the physical, mental, and economic difficulties visited upon many of us because of the ongoing pandemic. 

We especially must be mindful of those around us who struggle every day with a deep spiritual poverty because they do not know the sustaining power, mercy and love of our God. 

Our hope, however, is always in the Lord. As the Psalmist says, “He shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him” (Ps 72:1-2). Let it be our mission this month and always to bring the light of Christ to the materially and spiritually poor among us, whether this be through our own work, generosity, or evangelistic witness, or through your parish or Catholic Charities. Through prayer and the grace of God, we can be the instruments of his tender care.