We are launching this Blog at an opportune time. We’re participating in the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering
in Washington, D.C., this week (Feb.9-13) where we are connecting with some of our close network partners. Some of us will also pay a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with elected officials.
It is during these winter months that we take stock of our advocacy work and gear up for spring meetings and activities. So along with our regularly posts to our website homepage, this Blog will allow us to further share our thoughts and efforts with members and viewers like you.
Speaking of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, this year’s theme fits well with the inauguration of our Blog site: “Promoting Human Life and Dignity in the Year of Faith.” In case you haven’t seen it, our executive director Jim Ennis also writes on this theme
in the current issue of our Catholic Rural Life magazine
We certainly welcomed the call by Pope Benedict XVI for the Year of Faith
. The Holy Father made his call in mid-October last year, summoning Catholics worldwide to “an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.” The Year of Faith will end this coming November — which happens to be at the time when NCRLC celebrates our 90th anniversary since our founding in November 1923.
Our long-time members will know the name of Bishop Edwin Vincent O’Hara (1881-1956). It was his efforts back in the 1920s that initiated the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. (Learn more about NCRLC history here
.) We honor our founder today with a special recognition award to an individual who is an advocate for rural communities and social justice. We also honor a farm couple with the St. Isidore recognition award. You’ll hear much more about this year’s award recipients as we get closer to the feast day of St. Isidore on May 15.
So this new Blog — we’re hoping to provide weekly entries — will allow us to talk about some of the happenings, programs and even personal reflections as we carry out the NCRLC mission to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ for the betterment of rural America.
Jim Ennis is likely to share accounts of his meetings and events as he travels around the country as part of his work. He’ll let us know what he hears and experiences as he meets various people and visits rural areas.
Kara Storey will provide occasional human interest stories, such as this one
which appears in the current issue of our magazine. (By the way, you can receive our magazine, produced three times a year, by becoming a Member or donating to our work
. You can also order multiple copies
if you have a parish group or upcoming event that might welcome what we do.)
As for myself, I’ll comment on our policy efforts — Farm Bill, food, water, renewable energy, and the like — but this will be more than just providing policy updates. I’ll offer a nuanced or even personal reflection on why we focus on what we do. This will often be from a political-econmomic perspective based on principles of social justice, but if I drift into polemics or worse — platitudes! — then I’ll ask viewers and blog readers to set me straight. We certainly welcome and even insist on your comments and reactions.
So be sure to come back and visit our Blog every week or whenever you can.
May our faith be renewed and strengthened during this Year of Faith.