Dear Friends,

This week I am teaching a course with Dr. Christopher Thompson—Moral Theologian and Academic Dean at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity—entitled “Rural Ministry Practicum.” This is our 12th year teaching this five-day intensive experience that includes presentations on Catholic social teaching as it relates to agriculture, rural communities, care of creation, and rural ministry. The 20 seminarians are from six dioceses located in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa. Along with classroom presentations, we visited two farms in south-central Minnesota. 

One of the farms is Metogga Lake Diary operated by Ray and Bridget Pieper and their family. It is a relatively large dairy operation with 450 cows milking every day. The Pieper’s do a remarkable job combining their faith and their farming. As you enter their farm you see a large, beautiful statute of Mary, signifying their need for her prayers over their family and work. 

The seminarians were impressed with how the family balanced the need to integrate technology into their operation with the need to stay connected to the animals and the crops that they work with on a daily basis. Their faith informed their work. Farming is indeed a cooperative art, cooperating with God and creation to provide needed food for communities. After our visit, many of the seminarians said they now have a greater appreciation for all the work that a dairy requires to make it operate efficiently and economically. The Catholic Church has always affirmed the noble vocation of farming, and it is important to help our future priests and pastors of rural communities appreciate all that goes into providing food and milk to our tables.

Finally, please pray for all the farmers who are suffering under the current drought in many parts of our country. Please continue to pray for rain and for farmers and ranchers who are experiencing stress. 

Many blessings,
James Ennis
Executive Director
Catholic Rural Life
Upcoming events, useful info and good stories.
CRL Community
"I see the connection between faith and farming every day; what God is doing and what He has done. When you are farming everything you do is up to God. I can see that Catholic Rural Life wants to make people aware of what is going on on the farm. I am glad to host the seminarians at my farm because there is a need to familiarize future priests with the challenges of rural life and farming."

– Jim Glisczinski
Farmer, CRL St. Isidore & Maria Society Member, and Rural Ministry Practicum Farm Host, Minnesota
Rural Listening Sessions
The Diocese of Madison Rural Life is coordinating an 11 county-wide Rural Life Listening Session campaign beginning August 31, 2021. They write, “These are opportunities for rural parishes representing each county to allow Bishop Hying and the Diocesan offices to assess current services and explore opportunities to provide a more compassionate response to individuals and families across our rural landscape."
CRL Blog
Our recent piece in our "From the Archives" series includes a poem shared in the April 1982 Catholic Rural Life magazine titled, Respite. "Work-weary, I slipped away this afternoon to nearby timber, lush with spring’s gifts; walked lightly on springy mulch of last year’s leaves and this year’s ferns. I saw my favorite hillside, carpeted with wild flowers, white and blue, nodding in dappled sunshine beneath the elms and hickories. Berry bushes in full bloom gave promise of summer treasures."
Summer Series: Part 3
Join us for Part 3 of our Summer Q&A Series on Estate and Succession Planning. Part 3 is focused on "Financial Security". We will address the most common questions business owners and families have about designing an efficient and effective estate and succession plan. The series is facilitated by Kevin Spafford, CRL member and one of the ag industry’s foremost experts on the subject of succession planning.
Upcoming Events
August 26, 2021 - Summer Series, Part 3: Financial Security - Virtual

September 17, 2021 - Rural-Urban Farm Mass, CRL St. Martin Deanery, Cincinnati

September 22, 2021 - Rural Life Day, CRL La Crosse, Wisconsin

October 4-8, 2021 - Thriving in Rural Ministry Retreat, St. Meinrad, Indiana

October 31, 2021 - Rural Life Harvest Mass and Celebration, CRL-Madison, Wisconsin

See all upcoming events here.
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