On July 29, 2022, at 3 p.m., church bells throughout Austria will ring for five minutes. The ringing is intended to draw attention – at the hour of Jesus’ death – to the fact that people die of hunger every day. As in previous years, the Austrian Bishops’ Conference is supporting this cause for the fifth time: “In as many parishes as possible,” the church bells should ring for five minutes on the last Friday in July, according to the bishops’ resolution at their recent summer plenary session. Under the hashtag #GlockenGegenHunger, Caritas is also drawing attention to a global problem that has been “dramatically exacerbated” by the war in Ukraine. The ringing of bells is intended to call for commitment against hunger.
For the first time in a long time, the number of hungry people worldwide recently rose again: 828 million people currently suffer from hunger or are chronically malnourished. The drastic situation in Ukraine also has an impact far beyond the borders of Europe – and fuels hunger in the world’s poorest regions, as Caritas knows through its aid projects in the “South.” Due to fierce conflicts, but also due to the climate crisis, millions of people are facing famine, he said. “Every day, millions of mothers and fathers around the world struggle to keep their children from going to sleep hungry,” reads an appeal for donations on the Caritas website. In Africa, one in three children is chronically malnourished, it said. These children are too small for their age; their organs do not grow, and they cannot develop physically and mentally according to their age.
For Caritas, it is an “imperative of the hour” not to leave those people whose daily meal is already not secured alone and to support them with donations. In the world’s poverty-stricken regions, existential fears, the ongoing struggle to make ends meet, and the constant companion of hunger were daily realities even before the Corona crisis and the Ukraine war.
That is why the church aid organization wants to “hang hunger on the big bell” on July 29. “As a church, we send a strong signal with the Austria-wide bell ringing. And parishes, as part of the universal Church, are expressing that the suffering in other parts of the world concerns us.” Caritas is asking all parishes in Austria for their participation and support. The appeal was also joined by the renowned climate expert Helga Kromp-Kolb, who, on the Caritas website, and President Michael Landau, advocates “for a climate against hunger,” as it says on a poster held by her.
Awareness work against hunger
Caritas also gave the parishes specific suggestions on how they can best organize the day of action: To draw attention to the bell ringing against hunger in advance, an altar boy group, the youth choir, or the church choir should be invited to visit the bell tower. For the bell ringing, a short video could be posted on social media where a parish Caritas worker, parish councilor, or churchgoer explains why fighting hunger concerns them. “Post with #BellsAgainstHunger to help spread the word about the campaign!” advised Caritas.
Donations are also urgently requested: “Help us save affected people and families from hunger at www.Caritas.at/hunger – with just 30 euros, you can feed a school child for an entire semester, and 50 euros will support a family of five for several weeks.”
- source: kathpress.at/picture:
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