Camden diocese marks 'Forty Days of Francis' honoring papal visit

CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- We are now 40 days away from Pope Francis' historic visit to Philadelphia.

And the Catholic Diocese of Camden is counting down the days in a special way.

The 'Forty Days of Francis' campaign launched Monday morning in Camden.

The faith-based agency 'Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden' is urging South Jersey residents to prepare for the pope's visit by connecting with his mission.

That means recognizing the poverty in the diocese's six counties and getting involved.

"We're all very aware of poverty of this city," said Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan. "Poverty in the diocese is very extensive."

Among the initiatives: t-shirt sales to raise money and open houses at Catholic Charities centers to learn about service programs.

There are also specially created knots.

Executive Director Kevin Hickey says 11 versions of them have already been placed in area churches to help educate parishioners about the need.

There is a statistic attached to each one knot. One explains how 190,000 people in the Diocese of Camden lack consistent access to adequate food.

A Monday's kickoff even, eight families from across the diocese were awarded tickets to attend the World Meeting of Families' Theological Congress.

Without these tickets, they might have been able to afford to go.

"It will give me an opportunity to attend and hear the Catholic speakers and share what I see in south New Jersey," Christina Silvaria of Collingswood told Action News.
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