The latest from the Church in Rural America.

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August 14, 2015

"Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble."
- Pope Francis, Laudato Si, P. 131

CRL's Rural Ministry Practicum
It's well documented that there's a disconnect between the city and the countryside, between the farm and the kitchen table. CRL is doing it's part to erase this knowledge gap in a particular way: by familiarizing seminarians with the joys and challenges of rural ministry and the contemporary landscape of the American countryside.

We call it our Rural Ministry Practicum. This year, 16 seminarians from the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity participated in the week-long crash course in all things rural. We began with 2.5 half days of in-class instruction, which helped expose seminarians from the suburbs and cities to rural realities that often go ignored by most of America. This was followed up by 2.5 days in rural Minnesota, visiting family farms, country parishes, and seeing the theology of creation up close and personal. All in all, it was a great opportunity to instill a sense of appreciation and awareness for rural life in the future priests of our Church!
Proposal Offers Loan Forgiveness

Getting into farming these days--and succeeding--is tough. There's the cost of land and equipment; the lack of experience and support; add to it the heavy burden of student loans, and it's understandable why many young people who would otherwise farm are forced to turn elsewhere. It's a problem that needs to be fixed.

Which is why CRL welcomes a new bill in Congress that aims to forgive student loans of beginning farmers. The bi-partisan legislation recognizes something that our friends at the National Young Farmers Coalition have been saying for a while: farming is a public service. Visit our website to read more about the Young Farmers Success Act of 2015 and our thoughts on it!
The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader

In collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, CRL is spearheading an initiative to provide farmers and food leaders with practical ways of applying their faith to their work. The project has received input from the ag community by holding focus groups and conferences with farm leaders, ecologists, and policy makers. A set of resources will be produced, beginning with The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader document by the end of this year. Visit the dedicated website to learn more.

Sept. 1 Is World Day of Prayer for Creation

Reiterating again that caring for creation is about more than just changing laws and implementing new policies, Pope Francis has designated September 1 as the first annual World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

The day offers individuals and communities "a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation." A Prayer to Care for Our Common Home (also in Spanish) is available for use on the Day, as well as Caring for God's Creation: Resources for Liturgy, Preaching and Taking Action (also in Spanish). A beautiful prayer is also included at the end of Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si'.

CBS News Sunday Morning Airs Special


Last weekend, CBS News Sunday Morning aired an impressive, in-depth feature story on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers's (CIW) Fair Food Program, reaching over 6.5 million viewers who immediately took to social media to express their staggering support for the Program and seek answers from Publix. The supermarket chain has stubbornly refused to join the Fair Food Program and make a commitment to human rights for farm-workers in its supply chain.


The Sunday Morning special took us through the CIW's incredible 20-year struggle for respect and dignity in the fields and the historical transformations that have taken place in Florida's agricultural industry through the Fair Food Program, which the New York Times has hailed as "the best workplace-monitoring program" in the U.S. today.

     Applying the teachings of Jesus Christ 
     for the betterment of rural America
We're the only national Catholic non-profit dedicated to  addressing and overcoming the challenges facing rural America, be they social, economical, or spiritual.   Please consider supporting our work by becoming a member or donating today.

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