Benedict XVI will participate in the World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty on the 20th anniversary of its foundation.

The world day was begun Oct. 17, 1987, by Father Joseph Wresinski (1917-1988), founder of the ATD Fourth World movement. The Polish priest’s motto was

Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.

The initiative was taken up by the United Nations in 1992.

To help spread Father Wresinski’s message, various initiatives have been organized in Rome. Wednesday, Oct. 17, during the weekly general audience, the Holy Father will mention his participation in the day. The official celebration will take place that same day at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, Mass will be celebrated in the Basilica of St. John Lateran by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

It is possible to sign the Declaration of Solidarity online (

The declaration will be delivered to the secretary-general of the United Nations on Oct. 17.