Social Justice Calendar


1 JanuaryWorld Day of Peace
An annual celebration by the Catholic Church, dedicated to universal peace, held on 1 January, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Pope Paul VI established it in 1967, being inspired by the encyclical Pacem in Terris of Pope John XXIII.
14 JanuaryPeace Sunday
15 JanuaryBirthday of Martin Luther King Jnr
The de facto leader of the civil rights movement in mid-20th century America. Inspired by his Christian faith, he was a prophetic witness to justice in the face of systemic racial discrimination.
18-25 JanuaryWeek of Prayer for Christian Unity
Divisions between Christians is still sadly the cause of violence and division. We pray this week for unity among the followers of Christ. Visit the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website for resources:
27 JanuaryHolocaust Memorial Day
We must never forget the horrors inflicted on the Jewish people by the Nazi regime. We commit ourselves anew to stand against anti-Semitism and racial discrimination in all its insidious form. For resources and information visit:
28 JanuaryRacial Justice Day
This event occurs three Sundays before the First Sunday in Lent. For information and resources, visit the website of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice at:
31 JanuaryFeast of St John Bosco
Better known as Don Bosco, a 19th century Italian who dedicated his life to the street children in northern Italy who were suffering from the effects of industrialisation and urbanisation. He founded the Salesians of Don Bosco.
4 FebruaryInternational Day of Human Fraternity
In 2020, the United Nations declared 4 February as day to promote and celebrate greater cultural and religious tolerance. For more information visit:
8 FebruaryFeast of St Josephine Bakhita
International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
Some 49 million people are in slavery today, more now than ever before. For more information and resources, visit the website of Bakhita House, a project of Caritas Westminster:
11 FebruaryFeast of Our Lady of Lourdes
World Day of the Sick
This day was introduced by Pope John Paul II as a reminder for the Catholic community to pray for the sick and their caregivers. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of health services and the extent to which they are accessible by all
12 FebruaryRed Hand Day, or the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers
Every year since 2002, this day has raised awareness of the use of child soldiers and urged politicians to commit to ending the use of anybody under the age of eighteen in military organisations.
14 FebruaryAsh Wednesday
20 FebruaryWorld Day for Social Justice
In 2007, the United Nations declared that a day to promote and celebrate social justice globally would be held on this day. For details of the theme for the year, visit the UN website:
23 FebruaryLent Fast Day
Every Friday in the First Week of Lent, we keep Family Fast Day. For resources and suggestions of how to get involved visit:
01 MarchWomen’s World Day of Prayer
World Day of Prayer is an ecumenical movement inspired by the motto “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action.” This year the theme is, ‘I Beg You… Bear With One Another in Love’ (Ephesians 4:1-3). Learn more at:
22 MarchWorld Water Day
An annual United Nations observance day since 1993 to celebrate water and raise awareness of the two billion people in the world without access to safe water. See UN website for more details:
24 MarchFeast of St Oscar Romero
One of the patron saints of Caritas Internationalis and patron saint of Caritas Social Action Network. Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated while saying Mass on this day in 1980. He was a prophetic voice for justice and human dignity in El Salvador during the years of the military dictatorship. He embodies the preferential option for the poor. For more information and a bank of resources visit:
26 MarchAnniversary of the publication in 1967 of Populorum Progressio, by Pope Paul VI.
A good day to re-visit this ground-breaking document in the school or parish and discuss some of its key passages. Why not try paragraph 21 on truly human conditions, or have a look at the radical vision for the common good in paragraph 24?
7 AprilFeast of Jean Baptiste de le Salle,
Patron saint of teachers, founder ofall the Lasallian schools worldwide. Lasallian education centres on Catholic values and personal relationships, emphasising academic excellence, faith formation, inclusion, respect for the individual, service and social justice.
11 AprilAnniversary of the publication in 1963 of Pacem in Terris, by Pope John XXIII. Why not have a look at paragraphs 11-33 which outline the rights and duties of the human person?
1 MayFeast of St Joseph the Worker. St Joseph has two feast days. On 19 March we celebrate St Joseph, the husband of Mary. On 1 May we celebrate St Joseph the Worker. Joseph, the father of Jesus, was a carpenter. We can only imagine the skills and values Jesus learned working with his father. This is a good day to highlight the dignity of workers.
Anniversary of the publication in 1991 of Centesimus Annus, by Pope John Paul II. Why not have a look at paragraph 36 which reflects on the important distinction in the consumer age between ‘having’ and ‘being’.
9 MayBirthday of Peter Maurin in 1877, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Biography can be found here: Maurin was also known for his Easy Essays, his vision of a Christian social order written in short accessible free verse poems. To see some of them visit:
15 MayAnniversary of the publication in 1891 of Rerum Novarum, by Pope Leo XIII (why not have a look at paragraph 3 to recall the powerful prophetic voice of this encyclical);in 1931 of Quadragesimo Anno, by Pope Pius XI(why not have a look at paragraph57 to recall the strong emphasis on social justice in this encyclical);in 1961 of Mater et Magistra, by Pope John XXIII (why not have a look at the short paragraphs from 228-237 which deal with the importance of putting CST theory into practice).
21 MayFeast Day of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter
Born in St Radegund, Austria in 1907. Executed on 9th August 1943 at Brandenburg Prison for his conscientious objection to serving in Hitler’s army. On 26 October 2007, Franz was Beatified in his home Diocese of Linz in Austria. For more information on this courageous witness to peace, visit:
Mid-late MayLaudato Si’ Week
Register with the Laudato Si’ Movement for more information:
24 MayAnniversary of the publication in 2015 of Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis. A good day to look again at some key passages in this ground-breaking encyclical. This is a rich and ground-breaking social encyclical. Why not have a look at paragraphs 222-227 on Joy and Peace and the Christian spirituality of integral ecology.
29 MayFeast day of St Pope Paul VI, the pope who saw the Second Vatican Council to a conclusion and produced some of the key social encyclicals of the 20th century.
31 MayFeast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
A good day to read St Luke’s account (1; 39-56) of Mary’s visit to her relative Elizabeth, who was also pregnant by a miracle of God. Mary’s Song of Praise, the Magnificat, is a prophetic vison of the reversal of the world’s values, when the powerful are brought down and the lowly lifted up.
16 JuneDay for Life
A day set aside by the Church to celebrate the dignity and wonder of life from conception to natural death.
17-23 JuneRefugee Week
Each year around World Refugee Day on 20 June, a UK-wide festival to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. For more information and how to get involved, visit:
20 JuneWorld Refugee Day
International day organised by the United Nations to celebrate and honour refugees around the world; established in 2001, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, of which the UK was a founding signatory.
29 JuneAnniversary of the publication in 2009 of Caritas in Veritate, by Pope Benedict XVI. So much to reflect on in this long and powerful encyclical following the financial crash of 2008. Why not have a look at paragraph 45 on the need for a people-centred, ethical economics.
14 JulySea Sunday
Every year churches around the world celebrate Sea Sunday. It is a day for people to come together to pray for seafarers and fishers, and thank them for the vital role they play in all of our lives. For resources and more information, visit the website of Stella Maris at:
15 JulyBirthday of Cardinal Manning
In 1808. Cardinal Manning was a key figure in the resolution of the London dock strike in 1889. Around 130,000 dockers went on strike for more reliable pay and better conditions. Find out more about Cardinal Manning and the London dock strike of 1889 in this article by Jenny Sinclair, the founding director of Together for the Common Good:
23 JulyWorld Day for the Elderly and Grandparents
In 2021, Pope Francis instituted a Church-wide celebration of a World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, to be held on the fourth Sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus. This day helps us to remember that the elderly are a gift and we have a duty to ensure that they are looked after well in their final years.
30 JulyWorld Day Against Trafficking in Persons
31 JulyFeast of St Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius founded the Jesuit order which in recent years has been closely associated with the preferential option for the poor. One of their ‘works’, the Jesuit Refugee Service, is dedicated to serving, accompanying and advocating on behalf of refugees. Visit their website at:
1 AugustFeast of St Alphonsus Mary di Liguori
In the 18th century, St Alphonsus founded the Redemptorist Order, with a charism for preaching clearly, with particular solidarity with the poor by promoting their rights to justice and freedom. For more information:
14 AugustFeast day of St Maximilian Kolbe
A Polish Franciscan friar who spoke out against the Nazi regime, was arrested and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. In an act of ultimate solidarity, he offered to take the place of one of the ten men, who was married with a child, who had been selected to die by starvation in retribution for the escape of some prisoners. He led the condemned men in their starvation cell in prayers until the end.
1 SeptemberWorld Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and the beginning of the Season of Creation, which ends on 4 October (see: Feast of St Francis of Assisi). For more information and inspiration, visit the Laudato Si Movement website:
5 SeptemberFeast of St Mother Teresa of Calcutta
One of the patron saints of Caritas Internationalis. Born in Albania in 1910, Mother Teresa founded the religious order the Missionaries of Charity which serves the poorest of the poor all over the world.
8 SeptemberEducation Day
An ecumenical event to celebrate education which has been marked for over one hundred years in England and Wales. Each year there will be a different theme. For more details visit:
14 SeptemberAnniversary of the publication in 1981 of Laborem Exercens by Pope John Paul II. Why not have a look at the end of section 15 and the proposals that workers should have more ownership of their workplace.
15 September Evangelii Gaudium Day
Pope Francis calls on the Church to embark on a fundamental change of direction when it comes to evangelisation, no longer relying on past structures and actions but to read the signs of the times and act passionately in proclaiming the unique message of the Gospel that brings joy to all people who receive it with an open heart. A good day to read Evangelii Gaudium, issued by Pope Francis in 2013.
29 SeptemberWorld Day of Migrants and Refugees
The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for different vulnerable people on the move, to pray for them as they face many challenges, and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
27 SeptemberFeast of St Vincent de Paul
Born in 1581 in Gascony, Vincent studied for the priesthood and was ordained in 1600. In 1617, two events changed his life. After hearing the confession of a dying man, he resolved to preach the Good News of Christ’s promised redemption, and later that year after appealing for help for a poor sick family he saw many local people bringing them aid. This inspired him to found the Ladies of Charity (AIC), who were devoted to person-to person help. Many other Vincentian organisations followed.  St Vincent died in 1660 and was canonised in 1737. For more information on his life and legacy, visit:
3 OctoberAnniversary of the publication in 2020 of Fratelli Tutti, by Pope Francis
A good day to re-visit some of the key message of this encyclical, perhaps in school assemblies or collective worship? There is so much to reflect on in this rich and inspiring encyclical, but why not have a look at paragraphs 215-221 on a new culture of dialogue and encounter?
4 OctoberFeast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, described by Pope Francis as the example “par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology, lived out joyfully and authentically” (Laudato Si, 10).
11 OctoberFeast of St Pope John XXIII, who convened Vatican II and published key social encyclicals (see above).
13 OctoberPrisoners’ Sunday
Prisoners’ Sunday is the national day of prayer and action for prisoners and their dependents as marked by the Catholic Church and across the Christian denominations. Today we reflect on how we as individuals, as a Church, and as a community are serving those affected by imprisonment.
14–20 OctoberPrisons Week. For more than forty years, this week has been an invitation to pray for all those affected by prisons, prisoners and their families, victims of crime and their communities. For more information on Catholic charities working in the criminal justice system, visit or
Mid OctoberChallenge Poverty Week in England and Wales. For more information:
16–22 OctoberAnti-Slavery Week
18 OctoberAnti-Slavery Day
22 OctoberFeast of St Pope John Paul II, who was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005. In that time, he brought the Gospel to some 130 countries on his travels abroad and produced a rich body of teaching, including some of the milestone encyclicals in Catholic Social Teaching.
3 NovemberFeast of St Martin de Porres. St Martin is one of the three patron saints of Caritas Internationalis, along with St Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St Oscar Romero. For more information on all three and on the mission of Caritas, see:
8 NovemberBirthday of Dorothy Day in 1897 in New York, Catholic social activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. For more information, visit:
11 NovemberFeast of St Martin of Tours, patron saint of chaplains. St Martin is perhaps best known for the story of cutting his military cloak in two to give half to a naked beggar. In a dream that same night, he saw Jesus dressed in the half of his cloak he had cut for the beggar. Jesus said, “Martin has covered me with his garment.”
17 NovemberWorld Day for the Poor. See Vatican website for annual message for the day, which is usually published in June. This is an ideal opportunity to convene all the work of social justice in a diocese for mutual support and inspiration.
24 NovemberWorld Youth Day
Pope Francis moved the celebration of World Youth Day, initiated by Pope John Paul II, from Palm Sunday to the Feast of Christ the King. For more information:
25 NovemberInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This UN day also marks the launch of the UNiTE campaign (Nov 25- Dec 10), an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on International Human Rights Day on 10 December. This campaign, led by the UN Secretary-General and UN Women since 2008, aims to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world, calling for global action to increase awareness, promote advocacy and create opportunities for discussion on challenges and solutions. For more information:
1 December1 December. World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who’ve died of the disease.World AIDS Day is one of the eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), For more information on AIDS prevention and support in the UK, visit:
7 DecemberAnniversary of the promulgation by Pope Paul VI in 1965 of Gaudium et Spes, the document of Vatican II which is most concerned with social issues. This is the Magisterium (teaching) of the Church at its highest level (Compendium, 96), hence it is the most significant document in Catholic Social Teaching. To recap on its teaching on the social order and the Gospel, why not have a look at paragraph 26.
10 DecemberHuman Rights Day, anniversary of the proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global declaration of human rights. For the full text:
25 DecemberThe Nativity of the Lord. The ultimate act of God’s solidarity with the human race. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).
Anniversary of the publication in 2005 of Deus Caritas Est, by Pope Benedict XVI. Why not have a look at paragraph 31.a which reflects on the importance of the formation of the heart.
30 DecemberAnniversary of the publication in 1987 of Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, by Pope John Paul II. Why not have a look at paragraphs 38-40 for an extended reflection on solidarity.