World Water Day 2024: Water for Peace

World Water Day 2024: Water for Peace

On the occasion of World Water Day promoted by the United Nations, which is celebrated every March 22, the Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), Sr. Alessandra Smerilli FMA, stressed that "water, as we well know, is irreplaceable and indispensable for the integral human development of all, and has a great symbolic richness."

In a message sent to the formation project "Water Source of Life"promoted by the South Region 1 of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, Sister Smerilli recalled that Pope Francis has stressed the importance of caring for water on various occasions and has also written about it in the Encyclical Laudato Si' and the Apostolic Exhortations Dear Amazonia and Laudate Deum

Remembering World Water Day, which this year the United Nations has chosen as its theme "Water for Peace", Sr. Smerilli said that "the fact that more than two billion people - for various reasons - do not have access to safe, constant and adequate drinking water is a great shame for humanity in the 21st century".

For this reason, the DPIHD Secretary encouraged us to give evangelical witness and not be content with a social message because, as the Pope said, "if, as Christians, we commit ourselves to justice and human dignity, we cannot hide that we do so because we recognize Christ in the poor, the forgotten and those whose natural environment is seriously damaged, and because we discover the immense dignity granted to these people by God the Father, who loves them infinitely".

"Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for this commitment. May your efforts continue and bear many positive fruits, giving witness to hope, responsibility, coherence, and solidarity. May the various academic careers, diocesan offices, parishes, and local communities benefit from this work," wrote Sr. Alessandra Smerilli.

WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

For its part, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development promotes the "WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene)" initiative in health centers of the Church together with different ecclesial realities. Recently, work was completed to improve hygiene conditions, and access to water, sanitation, and wastewater treatment (WASH activities) in four health centers of the Church in Malawi.

The difficulties posed by inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in many countries are very great. The Church is very committed on this front, and the Dicastery can facilitate contacts between those who wish to help and those who can intervene locally with equipment, maintenance, construction, and training.

In addition, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) published the contributions of many of the speakers who participated in the five webinars held in March 2021. All the texts are inspired by the Aqua fons vitae guidelines and address issues related to peace, cooperation and WASH challenges.

Day of prayer and care for water

The Diocese of Yucatan in Mexico instituted that every March 22nd will be celebrated the Day of Prayer and Care for Water.

In an official decree,the Archbishop of Yucatan, Mons. Gustavo Rodriguez Vega recalled that "the magisterium of Pope Francis on the water is very vast and luminous" and encouraged to "read and meditate on the speech delivered by the lake during his visit to Alberta Canada, which would be very edifying for our faith and ecological commitment".

"I ask God, each one of the faithful, as well as all people of goodwill, to increase our commitment to care and pray, with and through Sister Water," asked Bishop Rodriguez Vega, who encouraged people to strive "to be ever better custodians and defenders of water, God's sacred gift.”

22 March 2024