CALLED TO WITNESS: The "ART" of Catholic Social Justice

"Our faith calls us to work for justice; serve those in need; to pursue peace; and to defend the life, dignity and rights of all our sisters and brothers."- Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth

St. Francis de Sales offers our students the opportunity to further their participation in “building a culture of life” with the “pursuit of the common good” as well as “to nurture the growing awareness in society of the dignity of every person" through our art program. Art projects are designed with an emphasis of Gospel Teachings and Catholic Social Justice. This is part of an over-all plan to educate students about Gospel values and promote our school’s Catholic identity. Our art curriculum allows students to study people of faith and peace throughout history, explore peace and global issues and learn how to cultivate peace through action. This is a multidisciplinary approach to learning that empowers young people, challenges them to explore the causes of conflict, global poverty and inequity, stand in solidarity with those that suffer and encourages them to envision the possibility of and to work for a better world. The projects encourage students to help effect social change in our school, community, country and the world using their God-given talents. Students are offered the opportunity to combine skills in language arts (both written and oral), research, science and social studies, geography, technology, cooperative work strategies, etc. in pursuit and execution of a presentation which not only furthers their own understanding of social justice issues, but also serves to further the education of all who view the artworks. Thus, participants are promoting within self and others the skills of responsible citizenship and effective witness to our Gospel values and prepares our students to become peacemakers and peace builders.


"There aren’t two categories of people. There aren’t some people who were born to have everything, leaving the rest with nothing and a majority of people who have nothing and cannot taste the happiness that God has created for all. The Christian society that God wants is one in which we share the goodness that God has given to everyone".

Oscar Romero, 12.16.1979

We must not seek the child Jesus in the pretty figures of our Christmas cribs.We must seek him among the undernourished children who have gone to bed at night with nothing to eat, among the poor who will sleep covered with newspapers in doorways." Archbishop Oscar Romero, December 24, 1979

James 2:14-18

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Matthew 25:37-40

Then the righteous will answer HIM saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And He will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Isaiah 58:10

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness.

Proverbs 28:27

Whoever gives to the poor will not want

Luke 3:11

And he answered them, “Whoever has two coats is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Proverbs 14:31

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

1 John 3:17-18

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

"People must stand united against the scandal of hunger while avoiding food waste and irresponsible use of the world’s resources. People should “stop thinking that our daily actions do not have an impact on the lives of those who suffer from hunger firsthand. With about one billion people still suffering from hunger today, “we cannot look the other way and pretend this does not exist”, he said in the message.There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, he said, but only “if there is the will” to respect the “God-given rights of everyone to have access to adequate food. By sharing in Christian charity with those “who face numerous obstacles, we promote an authentic cooperation with the poor so that, through the fruits of their and our work, they can live a dignified life. People must act “as one single human family, to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger, so that this voice becomes a roar which can shake the world.” POPE FRANCIS

World Hunger: A Moral Response

Between now and tomorrow morning, 40,000 children will starve to death. The day after tomorrow, 40,000 more children will die, and so on. In a "world of plenty," the number of human beings dying or suffering from hunger, malnutrition, and hunger-related diseases is staggering. According to the World Bank, over 1 billion people—at least one quarter of the world's population—live in poverty. Over half of these people live in South Asia; most of the remainder in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.

The contrast between these peoples and the populations of rich nations is a stark one. In the poor nations of South Asia, the mortality rate among children under the age of 5 is more than 170 deaths per thousand, while in Sweden it is fewer than 10. In sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy is 50 years, while in Japan it is 80.

These contrasts raise the question of whether people living in rich nations have a moral obligation to aid those in poor nations. Currently, less than 1/2 of 1% of the total world gross national product is devoted to aiding poverty-stricken nations. What is the extent of our duty to the poor?

In the coming decades, the gap between rich nations and poor nations will grow and appeals for assistance will multiply. How peoples of rich nations respond to the plight of those in poor nations will depend, in part, on how they come to view their duty to poor nations--taking into account justice and fairness, the benefits and harms of aid, and moral rights, including the right to accumulate surplus and the right to resources to meet basic human needs.

All human beings have dignity deserving of respect and are entitled to what is necessary to live in dignity, including a right to life and a right to the goods necessary to satisfy one's basic needs. This right to satisfy basic needs takes precedence over the rights of others to accumulate wealth and property. When people are without the resources needed to survive, those with surplus resources are obligated to come to their aid.

Are people not grasping the problem of global hunger and poverty? A Hunger Banquet raises awareness and allows guests to experience firsthand how our decisions affect others in the world.The Goal: The event will: Educate students on hunger issues.

Guests draw tickets at random that assign them each to either a high, middle, or low-income. They will then receive a corresponding meal.

Multiply your total guests by .15. That number is the top 15 percent, the high-income tier that are served a sumptuous meal.

Multiply your total guests by .35. That number is the middle 35 percent section. They will eat a simple meal of rice and beans.

The leftover 50 percent in the low-income tier help themselves to small portions of watery oatmeal and water.

Reflect:Students are invited to share their thoughts after their meals. This can be a guided reflection or allow everybody involved to speak freely.

Facts on Hunger

Hunger is defined as a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.

Malnutrition is defined as a lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat.

Undernutrition contributes to 2.6 million deaths of children under five each year - one third of the global total.

About 842 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. That means that one in every eight people on Earth goes to bed hungry each night.

Most of the world’s undernourished people are still to be found in Southern Asia, closely followed by sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Asia.

It costs just US 25 cents per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy

Nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

In the developing world, one child in four is stunted, meaning that their physical and mental growth is impaired because of inadequate nutrition.

Undernourishment kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined.

In 2011, 1 in 6 children were estimated to be underweight in developing countries with most (56 million) living in South-central Asia.

Almost 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry tonight, 200 million of them children.

Undernutrition during the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday can cause irreversible stunting and mental impairment.

There are 66 million primary school-age children who attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

There are 67 million school-age children who do not attend school. Poor households must often choose between sending their children to school or to work the fields.

A person’s earnings increase by 10 percent with each year of school they complete.

1 in 6 people in America face hunger.

Households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children in 2011. 20.6 percent vs. 12.2 percent.

Food insecurity exists in every county in America. In 2011, 17.9 million households were food insecure.

50.1 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.

In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.

More than 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger

Among African-Americans and Latinos, it’s 1 in 3.

Over 20 million children receive free or reduced-price lunch each school day. Less than half of them get breakfast and only 10 percent have access to summer feeding sites.

For every 100 school lunch programs, there are only 87 breakfast sites and just 36 summer food programs.

1 in 7 people are enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Nearly half of them are children.

40 percent of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans.

These seven states have statistically higher food insecurity rates than the US national average (14.7%):

Mississippi (19.2%)

Texas (18.5%)

Arkansas (19.2%)

Alabama (17.4%)

Georgia (17.4%)

Florida (16.2%)

North Carolina (17.1%)

Matters of Scale - Spending Priorities

Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide health care for all women in developing countries $12 billion

Amount of money spent annually on perfumes in Europe and the United States $12 billion

Amount of money needed each year (in addition to current expenditures) to provide water and sanitation for all people in developing nations $9 billion

Amount of money spent annually on cosmetics in the United States $8 billion

Amount of money needed each year to provide basic health an nutrition needs universally in the developing world $13 billion

Amount of money spent each year on pet food in Europe and the United States $17 billion

Amount of money needed each year to provide basic education for all people in developing nations $6 billion

Amount of money spent each year on militaries worldwide $780 billion

Combined wealth of the world's richest 225 people $1 trillion

Combined annual income of the world's poorest 2.5 billion people $1 trillion


The Hunger Banquet can be very effective to simulate the imbalanced distribution of food in our world. Participants represent various countries around the globe and receive a meal that corresponds to that country’s economic status. The Hunger Banquet is an opportunity to actively express solidarity with the poor around the world.

Development Categories and Corresponding Countries:

Developed World – Level 1: (industrialized nations): Countries in which most people have a high economic standard of living. United States, England, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Australia, etc.

Developed World – Level 2: Countries in which most people have an adequate standard of living. Russia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, etc.

Developing World: Countries in which most people have a low economic standard of living. Angola, Bolivia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, Honduras, Tanzania, etc.

Development Category Table Setting Food Developed World Level One (10% of group) Linen tablecloth, flowers in the center of table, china plate, linen napkin, silverware, glass Access to multiple servings of all food available

Developed World Level Two (30% of group) Paper plate, paper napkin, plastic silverware, plastic cup Access to one small serving of rice and beans.

Developing World (60% of group) No table, no eating utensils, sit on the floor for the meal (Be sure that there is enough floor space available for this group.) Cup of watery oatmeal.

Suggested Sources for Country Statistics

• Nutrition Information: UNICEF-

• Basic Hunger Information: Bread for the World-

• World Fact Books-

• United Nations-

• Catholic Relief Services-



Welcome to the our Hunger Banquet. We are here today because more than 2.2 billion people live in poverty. [PAUSE] About 795 million people suffer from chronic hunger. [PAUSE] A child dies from malnutrition or a preventable disease every 11 and a half seconds. That’s almost 8,000 children a day. [PAUSE] You may think hunger is about too many people and too little food. That is not the case. Our rich and bountiful planet produces enough food to feed every woman, man, and child on earth. Hunger is about power. Its roots lie in inequalities in access to resources. The results are illiteracy, poverty, war, and the inability of families to grow or buy food. Hunger affects everyone, in countries rich and poor, in urban and rural areas. But some of us face greater challenges than others. Every day, resources like land and water are becoming harder to access. Global shifts in the climate are adding to the problem, making it difficult for people to sow and harvest crops. We are making progress. The number of hungry people in the world has declined over the past two decades. But millions of people still don’t have access to the food they need. Food prices remain volatile, and food that is within reach one day may not be affordable the next. Meanwhile, the gap between the wealthy few and the many living in poverty is steadily growing wider, putting this progress in jeopardy. Your presence here today shows that you are concerned. You want to learn more. You want to make a difference. Today, you join us in the fight against world hunger. The way we see it, poverty is solvable—a problem rooted in injustice. Eliminate injustice and you can eliminate poverty. We’re not saying it will be quick or easy, but it can be done. We won’t patch a problem and then disappear. We won’t stand by silently and watch others suffer. A Hunger Banquet can only touch upon the issues. We cannot recreate the many complex ways poverty manifests itself. We will not have time to go into all the problems associated with lack of access to health care, education, and employment opportunities, and the realities of the day-to-day struggle for survival. The one thing I would like you to remember is this: Everyone on earth has the same basic needs; it is only our circumstances— where we live and the culture into which we are born—that differ. Some of us are born into relative prosperity and security, while millions—through no choice of our own—are born into poverty. As each of us walked in the door here today, we drew our lot at random. Look around, and you can see that equality and balance don’t exist here. Please note: No one section of this room represents a single country. While the US is one of the wealthiest countries on earth, 45.3 million Americans live in poverty. About 20 percent of children in the US—or one in every five American children—live below the poverty line. Stark inequalities prevail everywhere.

Now I would like to introduce you to the three segments of this world. But remember—it’s too easy to measure this world purely in economic terms. It is really about each person’s ability to achieve a sense of security and to access resources.

[MOVE NEAR HIGH-INCOME GROUP.] If you are sitting over here, you represent the 20 percent of the world’s population with the highest per capita income. To be a member of this very fortunate group, you need to earn a minimum income of just $6,000 a year. Most of you are lucky enough to be able to afford a nutritious daily diet. Because some of you even exceed your daily requirement of calories, you are likely to face health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that many of you have access to the best medical care in the world. It’s a given that your children will attend school; the only uncertainty is how many years they will study after high school. You and your family probably live in a comfortable and secure home. You may even own at least one car and two televisions. When you take your annual vacation, you don’t worry about your job disappearing in your absence. You have access to virtually everything you need and the security to enjoy it.

[MOVE NEAR MIDDLE-INCOME GROUP.] If you are sitting here, you represent roughly 30 percent of the world’s population. You earn between $1,032 and $6,000 a year. The levels of access and security you enjoy vary greatly. You live on the edge. For many, it would take losing only one harvest to drought or a serious illness to throw you into poverty. You probably own no land and may work as a day laborer, a job that pays a paltry amount—but it’s better than nothing. Your small income allows for some use of electricity and a few years of schooling for your children—especially if they are boys. Alternatively, you may have left your family to go work in the city. You hope that the money you earn from your less-thanminimum-wage job as domestic help or sweatshop worker will eventually allow you to move back home and make a better life for your family. Let me put a name to a person in this middle-income group: Pablo, who was born in Ecuador. Pablo’s parents could only afford to send him to school through eighth grade, so as a teenager he took a job at an oil company. There, Pablo witnessed the unfair treatment of many workers, as well as grave destruction of the environment. It was hard for him not to speak up about what he saw, but he knew that if he made trouble, he might lose his job, and his family was relying on him.

[MOVE NEAR LOW-INCOME GROUP.] If you are sitting on the floor, you represent the majority of the world’s population—roughly 50 percent. Your income is 1 to 2 dollars a day—although many of you earn much less. Every day is a struggle to meet your family’s basic needs. Finding food, water, and shelter can consume your entire day. For many of you women, it would not be uncommon to have to walk five to 10 miles every day to get water, spend several more hours working in the fields, and of course, take care of the children. And when food is scarce, you often eat less so that other family members will have enough. Many of you, both women and men, are frequently hungry. It is quite likely that you don’t get the minimum number of calories your hardworking life requires. Some of you are homeless or living in structures so flimsy that a hard rain or strong wind could cause a major catastrophe. Even though education is the single most powerful weapon against poverty, school is a luxury few of your children will ever experience. Most girls don’t even bother to dream about school. Adequate health care is out of the question. For most of you, early death is all too familiar, with many mothers expecting to lose one or two children before they turn 5. If you are lucky enough to work, you are probably a tenant farmer who must give your landowner 75 percent of your harvest. Or you may get occasional work as a day laborer at a large plantation growing bananas, sugar, or coffee for export. You reap few benefits from these crops; you’d prefer to grow food your children could eat. Let me introduce a real person from this group: Sarina (SAH-reenah), a young mother of two from coastal Bangladesh. Sarina and her husband, a fisherman, built their small wooden house on a narrow strip of shore between a local river and the Bay of Bengal. They knew that this was a risky place to make their home, but it was the only land the struggling family could afford. Then a cyclone struck. Sarina managed to save one of their three cows, but she and her husband lost nearly everything else during the storm, including their house and the fishing boat that they relied on to earn a living.

[GESTURES TO THE WHOLE ROOM] Take a moment to look around you now. Eighty percent of you are not seated at the table. Eighty percent of you do not share in the bounty of our planet.

I want to leave you with the words of someone whom many have found inspiring, in large part because—despite what seemed insurmountable obstacles—he was able to bring about changes that few believed possible. I quote from a speech he made to a group of people like you some years ago. I am honored to close with his words:

“Massive poverty and inequality … rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. In this new century, millions of people … remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man made and it can be overcome. … Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. “We thank you for coming here today. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. “Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up.”

The speaker was the late Nelson Mandela. Together, we can change the world. Rise up and be involved in solutions to help our brothers and sisters in need.


"There are not two categories of people. There aren't some that were born to have everything, leaving the rest with nothing--- a majority that has nothing and cannot taste the happiness that God has created for all. The Christian society that God wants is one in which we share the goodness that God has given for everyone"

Archbishop Oscar Romero


Pray for Peace....Bearing Witness To Peace

Lord God, we come to you in our need.

Create in us an awareness of the massive forces

that threaten our world today.

Give us a sense of urgency

to activate the forces of goodness, of justice,

of love and of peace.

Where there is armed conflict,

let us stretch our arms to our brothers and sisters.

Where there is abundance,

let there be simple lifestyle and sharing.

Where there is poverty,

let there be dignified living and constant striving for just structures.

Where there are wounds of division,

let there be unity and wholeness.

Help us to be committed to the building of your kingdom.

Not seeking to be cared for,but to care.

Not expecting to be served,

but to place ourselves in the service of others.

Not aspiring to be materially secure

but to place our security in your love.

Teach us your spirit.

Only in loving imitation of you

can we discover the healing springs of life

that will bring new birth to our world. AMEN


Let us continue to pray for peace in the world...

We have chosen to follow Jesus as our Lord, and to serve him as disciples. As his representatives, we are called to be peacemakers. We recognize that the strength to pursue peace comes from God, as we together seek God’s will in the context of our school as a spiritual community. Asking for God’s grace and guidance, we adopt these commitments as a definition of our

path and direction. We believe that peace is the will of God, and that peace cannot be separated from the pursuit of justice. God calls us to pursue a just peace for God’s whole creation.