National Catholic Register recently interviewed CRL Director Jim Ennis about the path that’s taken him away from and back to Catholicism, while wandering through corporate food systems, Fortune 500 companies, and ultimately settling here at Catholic Rural Life.
“After reading St. John Paul II’s theology of the body, Ennis longed for a theology of creation and questioned a moral theologian about it, who said he was working on a project to address that very problem. Ennis realized that a lot of Catholics had become blind to the environment and to nature as a part of Catholicism, yet the Church has so much to say about it. With that realization, when the position for executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference opened, he applied and was accepted.”
You can read the rest of the article here.
Catholic Rural Life has not only been a champion for Care of Creation, but particularly for those who steward it in rural communities. In 1923, CRL’s founder, Fr. Edwin V. O’Hara, having studied the condition of Catholic rural education, saw that the rural Church was underserved in terms of priests, churches, hospitals and Catholic schools. He felt this was part of a pattern of overall neglect in which Church authorities gave little attention to the social, economic or religious problems of rural Catholics. From this void, Catholic Rural Life was formed (you can read more about our history here).
We continue this mission today, by striving to help the faithful in rural communities face the challenges unique to their location. Our Life In Christ program is one such initiative. The program equips and develops Catholic lay leaders in rural communities who are able to lead small groups through the Holy Scriptures, Papal Encyclicals and the Catechism. The goal of this program is to revitalize the faith of Catholics in rural America in the spirit of the New Evangelization and Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, The Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), which highlights the role and calling of the laity in the Church. The outcome of this program is more Catholic lay leaders in rural communities who are able to lead small groups through Catholic social teaching, putting their faith in action through service, and transforming their communities.
As always, it is support from our members which help us support rural communities, advocate on behalf of ethical food and agriculture, and remind Catholics that Creation, and care of it, are important parts of the Faith. Consider joining today, to help us continue this work.
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