1 December – World AIDS Day
Health is a human right. Health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage. On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that, to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.
– UN Secretary General, António Guterres
Every year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS. In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused by the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth. With this in mind, this year the theme of World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”. COVID-19 has demonstrated that, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.
2 December – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
Slavery is not merely a historical relic. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception and /or abuse of power. In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.
5 December – International Volunteer Day
Over the last months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged across the world, volunteers have been at the forefront of medical, community and societal responses. Headlines in the world’s media have paid credit to volunteers for all kinds of work, from helping to provide medical care, to doing shopping for vulnerable neighbours, or checking up on elderly people living alone. The COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan by the WHO identifies community volunteers as key stakeholders for risk communication and community engagement. This indicates the valuable and great effort the WHO believes volunteers are doing during COVID-19. This year’s IVD campaign thanks volunteers worldwide and also sheds light on the difficulties and needs of volunteers during the pandemic. Showing the impact of volunteers in their communities during this crisis, we will reach to all corners of the globe with the message “Together We Can Through Volunteering.”
8 December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
We give thanks for Mary who had the courage to say “yes” to God, thus collaborating with God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Her faith and generosity enabled her to say “yes” to a future unknown to her. She had no idea of the path she would make as she responded to God’s invitation. For us, Presentation Sisters, Mary’s “yes” calls us to a deep attentiveness to the creative Spirit in our lives and in our world and to treasure this awareness in our hearts, In her great song, the Magnificat, we hear the invitation to trust in God’s gracious providence and to proclaim God’s faithfulness to the dispossessed of this world. (Our Way of Life. C6).
10 December – International Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day which in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination. 10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity. Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.
24 December – Anniversary of the Founding of the Presentation Sisters Congregation
Each year on 24 December, we, Presentation Sisters across the world celebrate the Foundation Day of the Congregation. On Christmas Eve 1775, our Founder Nano Nagle, and her three companions came together to begin their Novitiate, thus setting the foundation of our Congregation. From that significant and courageous beginning the Congregation has continued to spread across the world as we responded to emerging needs. Today, we, Presentation Sisters are working and ministering in 19 countries worldwide, continuing in Nano’s fotsteps, embodying her commitment to the education and care of the vulnerable and powerless. Inspired by her example, we endeavour to become as she was a prophetic presence and voice in the service of people made poor. (Our Way of Life. C7).