Awareness Raising at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School

Recently sixty-five students from the Edmund Rice Community (ERC) of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School fasted for twenty-seven hours from all food and beverages other than water, seeking to raise their own consciousness about world hunger and in a gesture of solidarity with the poor.  They also raised over $4,000.00 and packed and distributed over 3,200 lunches to Miami’s homeless. Now in its fifteenth year, the group broke last year’s record by about 400 more packed lunches – each one contained a prayer card written by students.

The Edmund Rice Community (ERC) is made up of approximately thirty students and Christian Brothers who meet twice each month, plan and organize community service projects. “HungerFest’ is a yearly event that raises consciousness of poverty and world hunger through Lenten practices of prayer and almsgiving.

The experience helps students to become well-rounded citizens of society. They spend time researching about world hunger and poverty and make posters with ‘factoids’ that attract the attention of fellow students so that they can be educated too.  It is also a very spiritual experience. After two days of continuous prayer and fasting, they celebrate their achievements together at an Agape Mass and meal.

Edmund Rice International applauds the initiative of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School and we note that awareness raising about global issues such as hunger, poverty etc is an increasing feature of life in Edmund Rice schools around the world, whether it be through programs such as the one described, immersions or other forms of social outreach.

Awareness raising poses the question ‘what are we to do in response to this situation?’ One important and necessary response is that of charity – meeting the immediate needs of those affected. However Edmund Rice International aims to encourage an additional, different response – that of advocacy.

Advocacy has been described as ‘the organised influencing of decision makers’.  Advocacy aims to look beyond immediate needs to the conditions that create those needs. It attempts to address causes rather than symptoms and seeks to change the way our society is organised and to contribute to the building of a more just world.

Edmund Rice International encourages members of the Edmund Rice network to become involved in advocacy at the local and national level and to join with us in our international advocacy work at the Human Rights Council of the UN.

– thanks to Lisa Morales from Archbishop Curley Notre Dame  High School for the information and photograph accompanying this article

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