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Seasonal Magazine

Catholic Rural Life is our theme-based magazine for CRL members, issued during various seasons of the year.

     Select stories from previous issues are linked below; just click on the article title..

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Faith and Ecology: Why We Care for Creation (Summer 2014)

Many may know that the Catholic Church has a lot to say on the environment and the stewardship of creation, but where do these positions come from? This issue of the CRL magazine seeks to answer that question, beginning with a look at Catholic ecological teaching, a tradition that extends from Pope Francis all the way back to Saint Francis of Assisi and beyond. We also profile Catholics from around the country who strive to make the Church's ecological teachings a lived reality in their varied walks of life.

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Francis to Francis: The Continuity of Catholic Ecology

Ecology in Action




Sowing Seeds: Celebrating 90 Years of Rural Ministry (Spring 2014)

This issue of the Catholic Rural Life magazine features a "Q&A" with Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Dolan provides incredible insight into the 90-year history of CRL, the connection between the Church and the countryside, and the continued importance of CRL's work. This commeroative issue also profiles several current CRL members and their committed work on behalf of rural communities, sustainable agriculture, and stewardship of creation.

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan: Reflections on Catholic Rural Life

Catholic Rural Life Members Stories


Lay Leadership: The New Evangelization in Rural America (Summer 2013)

This issue of Catholic Rural Life explores the many dimensions of developing lay leaders. There is a need in the Church to develop competent, confident and faithful leaders willing to take steps of faith in their communities. We are called and gifted by Jesus Christ to participate in the new evangelization. The question is, are we willing to respond to his call? The variety of articles in this issue describe how different groups are saying “yes” to God’s call in their respective rural communities.

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Lay Leadership: Keys to Transforming Rural Communities

Beyond the Parish: Rural Ministry in Appalachia



Life Giving Water: Sustaining Creation and Communities (Spring 2013)

Water is a gift from our Creator and vital for life on earth. In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, we look at the various dimensions and uses of water in rural communities, notably agriculture and energy production. As Christians we need to be informed about the threats—natural and man-made—to clean water and stay engaged in public policy debates to ensure access to clean water for all.

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Aqua, Sine Qua Non

Wanted: Lost River





Life & Dignity: Living Our Faith in Rural Communities (Winter 2013)


In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, we feature articles about the links between faith and the dignity of life, both in rural communities and within the larger arc of creation. One of the feature stories examines the meaning of "dignity" as part of all God's creatures and how this defines our own human dignity and behavior. This first issue for 2013 is our way to reflect on Catholic rural life during the Year of Faith.


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Building Bridges of Hope: CCHD brings grants to rural communities


The Dignity of it All: Respecting the dignity of all God's creations


A Balancing Act: Joys and Challenges of Rural Ministry (Summer 2012)

In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, CRL (then NCRLC) highlights examples of how priests, women religious, and laypersons are following God’s call in their lives to meet the spiritual and physical needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ amidst very challenging circumstances.  These challenges include the large geography and the multiple-parishes pastors have responsibility for overseeing; on top of that is the lack of financial and human resources in many communities. But there are success stories that offer lessons and ideas for others. We also highlight several initiatives and programs that are bringing new life and hope to the next generation. 

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Catholic Rural Ministry: Women of Hope

Equipping Our Pastors: NCRLC Rural Practicum 



Food and Faith: Why Eating is a Moral Act (Spring 2012)

“Eating is a moral act.” We say this simply because food sustains life. But the world of agriculture is extremely complex and there are many moral dimensions to it: the treatment of farm workers, feeding a hungry world, responsible stewardship of creation including the animals, and sustaining local family farms and rural communities, just to name a few. The Church has much to teach us on these ethical issues. In this issue of Catholic Rural Life we reflect once again on the ethics of eating and what parishes and individuals are doing to put our values into action.

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Food & Faith Connections: Parishes Help People Encounter Local Foods

The Ethics of Eating: Why Eating is a Moral Act



Right Relationships to the Land and the People (Winter 2012)

In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, we explore how our faithful relationship to God extends to right relationships with one another and the whole of creation. Where there is genuine love and respect, there is life and hope. The articles in this issue look at the many facets of rural life and different perspectives from around the country. This issue also introduces a new look for our magazine: readers will see a vibrant look with more local stories, more photos and full color.

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Getting it Just Right: Right Relationships in Farming, Community and Creation

Farmers as Stewards of Creation: Reclaiming the Common Good in Modern Agriculture




Catholic Stewardship of the Land: A Growing Renewal (Fall 2011)

As stewards of the gift of creation, we are called to "till and keep," to be co-operators with God in cultivating the earth. Farmers, especially, have a unique vocation, affirmed by the Church, to care for the earth. This issue of Catholic Rural Life examines the teachings of the Catholic Church as a theologian and philosopher articulate why Catholics should be the leading advocates for a renewed vision of environmental stewardship.

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Catholic Environmentalism: Families Care for Creation in Everyday Ways

Stewardship of Creation: What Catholics Should Know




Renewable Energy: Potential of the Land (Spring 2011)

What does farm-based energy mean for rural communities? This issue of Catholic Rural Life examines this question, but goes further to also look at the role of the Church in addressing energy consumption. The land has great potential, but we need to understand the limitations of ecological processes in relation to our near insatiable demands.  Thought-provoking essays from a faith perspective are presented that challenge us to live in new way for our ecologically-stressed earth.

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Technology of Alternative Energy

Learning a Language for Sustainability 




Overcoming Poverty in Rural Communities (Fall 2010)

A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and the vulnerable are faring. The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that nearly 44 million people, 14.3 percent of the U.S. population, were living below the government poverty level. The percent of those living in poverty in rural communities was even higher, with some counties hovering in the low 20’s percentage range. In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, we highlight the state of rural communities, and profile several examples of people who are making a difference in the lives of those around them.

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Overcoming Poverty in Appalachia

Good Samaritan Home, Ohio



Farm Workers and Migrant Ministry (Spring 2010)

This issue of Catholic Rural Life examines migrant farm workers - those who labor, often through ill-working conditions, to put food on our tables - and how the Church ministers to them. While many migrant workers endure unjust physical conditions, they also lack spiritual formation, especially during the grueling harvest season. These articles explain ways the Church can help migrants feel welcome and participate in her sacramental life.

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A Call to Farm Worker Justice

Campesino Ministry




What Earth Has Given and Human Hands Have Made (Fall 2009)

The Diocese of Des Moines and CRL (then NCRLC) celebrated the rural visit by Pope John Paul II to Iowa 30 years ago this past October. This issue highlights the presentations made at a special Symposium focusing on the care of Creation and environmental stewardship. The commemorative event also recognized the gratitude and graciousness of rural America and those who produce our food.

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On the 30th Anniversary of Pope John Paul II's Visit to Iowa

Our Covenant with the Land




Caring for Creation: A call to community (Spring 2009)

In this issue of Catholic Rural Life, we offer insights and reflections upon the urgent need to care for creation. The invited writers explore our calling as Christians, in light of Catholic social teaching and the lives of the saints, and offer actions to take.

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Our Call to Care for Creation

Virtues for the Care of Creation






World Food Crisis: What Must We Do? (Fall 2008)

This special issue on the current world food crisis seeks to better understand the underlying causes of the world food crisis, looking at possible related factors, examining the impacts in rural communities around the world, and exploring possible Christian responses.

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Give us our Daily Bread

Questionable Quick Fixes




Rural Issues, Social Justice Concerns (Spring 2008)

What are rural communities doing to act justly? This issue follows from our previous one and highlights some activities that carried out by CRL (then NCRLC) members around the country. Food, water and the environment remain crucial concerns for many of us engaged in rural life. These articles describe how groups come together in action and prayer to face the challenges.

San Isidro: Living Waters, Small Farm Life




The Rural Parish: Gifts and Challenges (Fall 2007)

What is the situation of rural parishes and pastors? We ask and try to answer this question every ten years or so. This issue illuminates what has changed in the past several years as rural communities adapt to a global economy and local transitions.

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Catholic Rural Life Survey 2007: The Rural Parish

Moving Forward with Faith




Opportunity for Farm Bill Reform (Spring 2007)

Now is the time to advocate for fair and just policy in the 2007 Farm Bill. This issue will help prepare our network members to speak to their elected representatives in Congress about new farm and food policies. The Farm Bill is a comprehensive and complex piece of legislation, but there are serious pastoral reasons for all of us to give heed and voice our concerns.

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2007 U.S. Farm Bill Backgrounder

Sustainable and Renewable Energy from Family Farms





Sacred Foods: Food & Faith (Winter 2006)

What are the sacred dimensions of foods? Is there a gap between our values and our actions? This issue of Catholic Rural Life reminds us of the values held within the faith tradition and the kinds of actions that can be integrated into our daily rituals of eating. Food choices also call us to greater consideration of the workers who harvest and produce our gracious foods.

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Liturgy of Foods: Eating in Season

Harvest of Hope: People of Faith Partnering with Farmworkers for Fair Food




Food Procurement: Supporting Local Farms (Spring 2006)

Purchasing food directly from local farmers multiplies economic life in a community because each dollar circulates several times in the locality. Food procurement by local institutions -- schools, congregations, cafeterias -- keeps the food dollar closer to home and helps build local living economies. This issue also features the contemporary agrarian vision of the Holy See.

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Archdiocese of Chicago Food Service Thinking Seven Generations Ahead

Agrarian Vision of the Holy See




Vision for Farm and Food Policy (Winter 2005)

Visions of the Farm Bill's Future. The next farm bill is scheduled for 2007. Already many groups are working on the shape of that farm bill. CRL (then NCRLC) joins a number of collaborative partnerships to create new farm bill and food policies.

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Catholic Rural Social Planning

Conservation Investments: Replacement for a Broken Policy





Global Climate Change (Spring 2005)

What is our moral response? Scientific evidence tells us that the earth's climate is changing and we can expect various impacts during our lifetime and future generations. This issue of Catholic Rural Life considers the need for an immediate public response to the phenomenon of global climate change. Can we set forth a moral standard that helps us to live in an equitable and sustainable way on God's good earth?

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Beyond Kyoto: Equity in Global Climate Change Policy

We are Stewards of Creation





Our (Catholic) Localism (Winter 2004)

Local economies, local food systems, local control: the word local seems tobe a reaction to the globalization process in general. This issue of Catholic Rural Life explores the concept of the local economy, doing so with a focus on Jane Jacobs and her life-long work on the nature of economies.


Subsidiarity: (Our Localism) A Fundamental Principle in Catholic Social Teaching







Ethics of Eating Cards

Resources & Booklets

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