Dear Friends,

Forty-two years ago this month, Pope John Paul II spoke to the largest outdoor audience in the state of Iowa’s history, over 300,000 people at Living History Farm in West Des Moines. It was Pope John Paul II’s first visit to the United States. His original itinerary included Washington DC, New York City, and Chicago; but a brief stop in Iowa was added to his itinerary after a farmer, Joe Hays, wrote a letter to the pope inviting him to come and speak to rural America. The pope gladly accepted the invitation, to the surprise of many in the Diocese of Des Moines. 

In 2009 I had the opportunity to meet and interview several key leaders and participants at that momentous event. What stood out to several of the farmers I spoke with was Pope John Paul’s affirmation of farmers and all who are associated with agricultural production. He said, “…the Church highly esteems your work.” These words would inspire CRL’s program, Faith, Food and the Environment, which led to the Vocation of the Agricultural Leader document as well as two national conferences on this topic.

Pope John Paul II’s message on October 4, 1979, still rings true today. There are three key attitudes that we all should cultivate in our lives in relationship to the land: 1) an attitude of gratitude for the land and all that God has given us to grow food; 2) an attitude of conservation, caring for the land and the natural resources in such a way that we can pass these onto our children and grandchildren; and 3) an attitude of generosity, willing to share the fruit of the land with others in our communities and throughout the world. During this month of Mary and the Rosary, as well as the Feast of St. Francis which we celebrated a few weeks ago, let us pray that these attitudes would permeate our hearts and minds as we seek to care for our common home. See the article below to read JPII’s message in its entirety.

Many blessings,
James Ennis
Executive Director
Catholic Rural Life
Upcoming events, useful info and good stories.
CRL Community
"I believe the beauty of a family farm operation is the integration of the family farm with faith, stewardship, learning, character development and more. CRL supports this challenging but important message and for that reason I am a member. While faith has an important role in any career or vocation, there is something about the annual season of life and death on a farm which makes it uniquely tied to faith, whether that be the growing of crops or raising of livestock."

– Jim Lodoen
Lawyer, CRL St. Isidore and Maria Society Member, Minnesota

Want to hear more? Read what other members have to say here.
Celebrating the Feast of St. Pope John Paul II
On October 22 we celebrate the Feast of St. Pope John Paul II. On Oct. 4, 1979, Pope John Paul II visited Des Moines, Iowa on his trip to America. There he celebrated an outdoor Mass on a farm. In his homily, he affirms the work and dignity of all those in agriculture, especially farmers. In honor of his feast day, we encourage you to read his important message.
CRL Blog: Conscious Consumerism
"The news has been full of stories about supply-chain issues, possible shortages, and inflation in recent days. In the midst of this, we want to share 10 reminders for conscious consumerism. These reminders are things you, as a consumer, can do that make a difference." See the 10 reminders and join us in the Prayer for Conscious Consumption.
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Upcoming Events
October 31, 2021 - Rural Life Harvest Mass and Celebration, CRL-Madison, Wisconsin

November 20, 2021 - Harvest Mass, CRL-Victoria, Texas

January 15, 2022 - Blessing of Seed and Soil Mass, CRL-Victoria, Texas

February 14-18, 2022 - Thriving in Rural Ministry Retreat, Venice, Florida

See all upcoming events here.
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