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Petition Congress: Urge new & better Farm Bill now
Our message to Congress has been clear all year:  We need an equitable, sustainable farm bill, and we need it this year.   Unfortunately, members of Congress had more party politics on their minds and less in the way of common good policy initiatives. Congress left town just as the current farm bill expired (October 1), and they didn’t bother to finis   >> Read On

"Challenges Lead to Renewal in Rural Ministry" - By James Ennis
Every summer my family and I go camping to be renewed and re-energized in spirit by a fresh contact with God’s beautiful creation. This summer was no exception as we traveled to the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Superior. One of the planned activities was an eight-mile round-trip hike to a pristine mounta   >> Read On

"Shades of Color in Rural Youth Ministry" - By Monica Heitman
The picture of youth ministry in a rural area would be painted with the same colors as big city ministry, except the shading is just a little different.  I have lived in a rural, small town all of my life and have served as a youth minister for close to 20 years. One thing I’ve come to realize is that In rural areas a youth minister is often a volunteer. Those who   >> Read On

Women of Hope: Religious Sisters Bring Help & Hope to NW Pennsylvania
Each ring of the phone has the potential to be a new adventure for two religious sisters living in northwestern Pennsylvania. “There’s no typical day because we don’t know exactly when the phone is going to ring or somebody wants this or that, or if we need to go out to the parishes,” said Sister Phyllis Schleicher, OSB.   Sister Phyl   >> Read On

The 2012 Farm Bill: Uncertain future as House fails to act
A spokesperson for House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) said they have thrown in the towel on any farm bill action in the House before the November election. The September 30 expiration date of the current farm bill will be allowed to come and go with no action at all from the House. But many farm and rural groups continue to make an urgent call for renew   >> Read On

CCHD: Catholic Charities of Salina Expands Microloan Project
A woman arrived recently at the Catholic Charities of Salina, Kan., in a sticky situation.  She had accumulated high interest debt and owed money to three different payday lenders.  With no credit history, no bank relationship, and limited financial knowledge to begin with, this woman was in a tight spot.  Thankfully, the Catholic Charities was equipped to hel   >> Read On

"On a Mission: Reaching Catholics in Rural Utah" - by Michael Lee
Most of us live within 15 to 20 minutes of a Catholic Church.  If we oversleep and miss the 8 a.m. Mass, we can attend the 10 a.m. Mass.  Or, if we don't like getting up early on Sunday morning, we can attend the vigil Mass on Saturday. Going to Mass is something most of us take for granted. Not so in rural Utah. In many of the rural areas of Utah, Catholic   >> Read On

"The Invitation of Creation" - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
Summer vacations are often great occasions to get away from it all, to take some time with family and friends and travel to the quieter corners of our world, “to lie down in green pastures … to be led to restful waters.” Whether on the precipice of a mountain vista or set amidst placid lakes and pines, the beauty of creation stirs in our souls an invitatio   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: The Faith of Migrants" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
For thirteen summers I have run summer First Communion programs for migrant farm worker children in Oregon and California. Each year, several Redemptorist seminarians and lay volunteers have accompanied me in orchards, vineyards, dairies and isolated communities, providing access to sacraments for children of migrants. This summer our Redemptorist summer migrant mission team   >> Read On

Prolonged Drought Making Corn Belt Suffer
  According to a recent government report, the drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years. This is jacking up crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food.   About 55 percent of the continental United States is now designated as in moderate drought or worse. The    >> Read On

House Agriculture Committee passes Farm Bill; House floor action remains uncertain
On July 12, the House Committee on Agriculture passed the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM), the Committee’s version of the Farm Bill. In these past weeks, we have worked together to remind Congress that the moral measure of our nation's agriculture policies is how they serve "the least of these."   We greatly appr   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Evangelization is Ministry, Not a Job" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
Recently I celebrated my 65th birthday. I awoke to a variety of emails, most wishing me a happy birthday, but a few offering condolences at being so old. I realize that I acted the old man as I prepared my coffee and orange juice.  About six weeks prior to my birthday, I got a call from a "Retirement Specialist." She asked, "What do you hope to do in retireme   >> Read On

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Woman Finds Joy in 'The Garden of God'
This blog post originally appeared on "Living Our Faith," a blog of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Dirt. Icky bugs. Sweat. Broken, dirty fingernails.  Makes you wonder why anyone would want to spend six months of the year in a garden, doesn’t it?  Much less a garden that isn’t of direct benefit to yourself, but only adds to the work you have elsewhere.    >> Read On

"Live Your Faith, and Eat it Too" - by Scott McLarty
(To download this article, click on the link at the very bottom.)   Our culture encourages us to compartmentalize everything, divide life up into neat bits of time, color-coded and meticulously organized, even our date-nights and play-time with our kids.   But no part of human existence and activity exists outside the bounds of divine concern, including wha   >> Read On

"Eating is a Moral Act: Revisiting the Ethics of Eating" - by Jim Ennis
While participating in a conference entitled Faith, Food and Farming in the San Joaquin Valley of California last fall, I was asked by a local reporter what the Church had to say about agriculture and food production. The tone of his question betrayed his skepticism that the Church had anything to say about secular matters such as food, food production, or the economic pligh   >> Read On

Fertile Ground for Service - Parish gardens in the Diocese of Arlington
This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2012, edition of the "Catholic Herarld," the Diocese of Arlington's Catholic newspaper. Reprinted with permission.   As the Easter season celebrates the risen Christ, who emerged from a dark tomb and appeared to Mary Magdalene in a garden, so springtime revels in new life that pokes up and blossoms in gar   >> Read On

Farm Bill Update: Your Voice Made a Difference
In a joint statement released by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Catholic Relief Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA, they stated:  Thanks in part to your many e-mails, phone calls, visits and letters, the Senate Agriculture Committee last week passed a 2012 Farm Bill with provisions that the Catholic community    >> Read On

Practicum Students Ordained Transitional Deacons
0 0 1 165 944 National Catholic Rural Life Conference 7 2 1107 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE    >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Isolated Faith Communities in Rural America" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew, CSSR
Comunidades Ecclesiales de Base (CEBs) Thinking outside of the Parish Model for Christian Community   When I meet a Catholic from my hometown, Omaha, Neb., it is common to ask the question, “What parish were you from?” My Catholic identity came from the fact that I was from Holy Name. It was my school, my church, my neighborhood, and my identity.   >> Read On

Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Senate writes a bill, House plans deep budget cuts
The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a new farm bill as of April 26. According to the National Journal: 0 false 18 pt 18 pt 0 0 false false false /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0   >> Read On

Federal Budget Choices Must Protect Poor, Vulnerable People, says U.S. Bishops Conference
Recent letters echo bishops’ consistent message that federal budget must form ‘circle of protection’ around ‘the least of these’ WASHINGTON—As Congress began working on the FY 2013 budget and spending bills this week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote several letters that repeated and reinforced the b   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Challenges in giving personal attention in ministry" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
Fifty and sixty years ago the face of the “campesino” was identified with the “migrant” worker who followed the crops from the South to the North and back to the South. It was easy to identify the migrants. They worked the fields. They lived in groups at camp housing or in tent cities on farms. They were in a community for a specific period of time. W   >> Read On

Cesar Chavez Day, March 31
  This Saturday, March 31, is Cesar Chavez Day and a time to remember those who work the fields and harvest many of our fruits and vegetables.   Cesar Chavez (1927-93) was a farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist. His non-violent organizing work led to growers recognizing the bargaining rights of farmworkers.   H   >> Read On

Writing Your Proposal/Video Resources
We have collected a variety of resources to help you write a strong and concise proposal.  At any point in the process, you are encouraged to contact NCRLC staff to review your application. James Ennis, Executive Director – James Ennis, phone: 651-962-5956 Beth Hyser, Development Coordinator - Beth Hyser, phone: 651-962-5955.   CCHD Applicatio   >> Read On

Successful CCHD Grants
This is the place to read about successful rural CCHD grants!     CCHD Helps Kentucky Co. With Economic Development Grant   When the Owsley County Action Team (OCAT) formed back in 1992, it was thanks to the work of local citizens who wanted to make a difference in their community.   The member organization, wh   >> Read On

CCHD Funding Policies and Timeline
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development fully upholds the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception through natural death. Organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. For example, organizations that support or promote same   >> Read On

CCHD Overview
When the Catholic bishops of the United States established the Campaign for Human Development in 1970, they mandated the Campaign fund "such projects as voter registration, community organizations, community-run schools, minority-owned cooperatives and credit unions, capital for industrial development and job training programs, and setting up of rural cooperatives." Today, CCHD   >> Read On

Getting Started
Step 1 – Review the Qualifying Guidelines to determine that your organization and project concept are eligible for CCHD funds.  Step 2 - Contact the staff of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. James Ennis, Executive Director – James Ennis, phone: 651-962-5956 Beth Hyser, Development Coordinator - Beth Hyser,    >> Read On

Sustainable Agriculture Coalition releases new platform for Farm Bill reform
Urgent need for new Farm and Food policies ~ Sustainable Agriculture Coalition releases 2012 Farm Bill Platform ~ The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released its comprehensive 2012 Farm Bill policy platform, Farming for the Future: A Sustainable Agriculture Agenda for the 2012 Food and Farm Bill. The detailed platform    >> Read On

Sowing Seeds of Hope in a Distracted World, presentation by Jim Ennis
"Sowing Seeds of Hope in a Distracted World"   Presentation by Jim Ennis (right), keynote speaker at the 2012 Bishop Lucker Lecture on Sunday evening, March 18, at St. Catherine's Church in Redwood Falls, Minn. (Lecture series sponsored annually by the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota)   NEW ULM – Rural life in the Uni   >> Read On

"Food Fight" - The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill
More people than ever are awakening to the importance of food and farm policy. A new resource guidebook is available that will likely encourage many of us to add our voices to the movement for Farm Bill reform. Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill We here at NCRLC highlight this publication because we are listed as one of the many organizatio   >> Read On

Catholic leaders call for a just framework in farm and food policies
Leaders of multiple Catholic organizations are asking the Senate Agriculture Committee to develop legislation that serves the needs of low-income families, helps vulnerable farming communities and encourages sustainable stewardship of natural resources. “We know from personal experience how the Farm Bill affects us all, but most significantly those who are hungry, livi   >> Read On

"Right Relationships in Faith: Farming and the Creative Good" - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
  Dr. Christopher Thompson, academic dean of St. Paul Seminary, and NCRLC Board member presented on reclaiming our Catholic heritage in the understanding of agriculture at our special session at the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, DC. He asks how we can reclaim the creative good in modern agriculture, applying a Catholic philosophy of n   >> Read On

"A Catholic Stewardship of the Environment - A Renewed Vision" - by Jim Ennis
In August 2011, National Catholic Rural Life Conference launched a pilot lay leadership-training program  at a retreat center in rural South Dakota. The retreat center is situated on a knoll surrounded by acres and acres of corn, soybean, and alfalfa fields as far as the eye can see.  In the evening there was a dramatic sunset amidst billowing clouds. A short while    >> Read On

"Renewable Energy: A Rural Opportunity" - by Jim Ennis
Several articles have recently appeared in newspapers across the country including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal devoted to the topic of renewable energy—power derived from sources such as the sun, wind, water, and biomass (which includes ethanol and biodiesel). The 2011 crisis at a Japanese nuclear plant, and rising oil and gas prices are further fueling    >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: A migrant farm worker family story" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
During the Christmas season, I met Abel and Maria (not their actual names). Their story is one so typical that I wish to give a glimpse of life for migrants. Their story is one of striving for a better life for their children and the difficulty of conveying dignity to their children. The Church can and should play a role in their lives, but often we miss the mark. The story    >> Read On

Will there be a new Farm Bill?
The U.S. Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. This comprehensive bill of many parts is reviewed and re-authorized every five years by the U.S. Congress. The current Farm Bill, authorized in 2008, expired on October 1st.   Despite a proposed bill by the House Agriciulture Committee passed during the summer, House l   >> Read On

Wartburg Rural Ministry Conference, March 4-6
The Wartburg Theological Seminary’s 31st Annual Rural Ministry Conference is being held on March 4th – 6th, 2012, in Dubuque, Iowa. The Rural Ministry Conference outreach is continuing to grow and has become an ecumenical conference for those working in small town and rural parishes throughout the Midwest.     NCRLC Director Jim Ennis will hold    >> Read On

"A Time to Plant" - book review by Christopher Thompson
Review Essay: A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer and Dirt. By Kyle T. Kramer. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2010. Pp. 175.  As an administrator of a lay theology program at a regional seminary and the proud owner of both twenty acres and a 1953 Ford tractor, I couldn’t help but be immediately drawn into the reflection   >> Read On

"Cultivating the Soil & Soul" - book review by Christopher Thompson
Review: Cultivating the Soil and Soul: Twentieth-Century Catholic Agrarians Embrace the Liturgical Movement. By Michael J. Woods, SJ. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010. Pp. 291.  Cultivating Soil and Soul is Woods’ doctoral dissertation from The Catholic University of America. It weaves together two strands of Catholic theological movem   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Justice" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
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Letter from Hispanic/Latino Bishops to Immigrants
The nation's 33 Hispanic Roman Catholic Bishops have written a "letter to immigrants" stating that illegal immigrants deserve thanks from Americans and call for "denunciation of the forces which oppress them." In their letter, the bishops once again state their support for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants before. But this    >> Read On

Thanksgiving - 'Eating is a Moral Act'
This article originally appeared in the November 17th issue of "The Catholic Times" by Bishop William Callahan, Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse and NCRLC Board Member.   One of the things I have learned as a bishop with a largely rural diocese is respect for those who work the land. Respect for farmers goes deep in our diocese. As I have celebrated Rural   >> Read On

Bishop Pates, NCRLC Board Member, elected chair of International Justice & Peace Committee
(USCCB Press Release)   BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted for the secretary-elect of USCCB, the chairmen-elect of five committees and the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace at their annual Fall General Assembly, November 14.   The secretary-elect and chairmen-elect serve in that capacity    >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Human Dignity and the Campesino" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
  As we approach the month of December, we enter a very special time for the faith of people from Latin America. The month begins with feasts of Mary, the Mother of God in the feast of Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The month continues with Posadas, preparing the way for the Birth of Jesus and then the celebration of Christ's birth. As weather    >> Read On

Book Review: “Small Books on Big Ideas III” - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
The Dearest Freshness Deep Down Things: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Being. By PIERRE-MARIE EMONET, OP. Translated by Rober R. Barr. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1999. Pp. 147.   This slender volume by the late Dominican Fr. Pierre-Marie (†2000 A.D.) is the first in a trilogy, designed to introduce an “average” person in   >> Read On

NCRLC Board Member Presents at Vatican Conference
*This article first appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of "Catholic Rural Life."   Dr. Christopher Thompson, member of the NCRLC board, was recently invited to participate in the International Congress on the 50th Anniversary of Pope John XXIII's Mater et Magistra, held May 16-18, 2011, in Rome. At the congress, which was sponsored by the Pontifical C   >> Read On

"Is there hope?" - by Father Bud Grant
For years now I have been asking the same question of every environmentalist I meet.  I’ve often been asked that question myself.  The question is “are you hopeful?”   My answer to that question has changed over time, from a rather gloomily existentialist “no,” to something much more theological.  It is complicated. &   >> Read On

NCRLC & St. Paul Seminary Host Rural Ministry Practicum
This past August, NCRLC and the Saint Paul Seminary teamed up, once again, to offer a Rural Ministry Practicum course to seminarian students.  With the leadership of Jim Ennis, and NCRLC board member, Dr. Christopher Thompson, these aspiring priests engaged in an intensive week examining various areas of rural life.   Initially, the group spent so   >> Read On

"Labor Day: To Earn Our Livelihoods" - Fr. John Rausch
This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire, one of the worst industrial accidents in U.S. history. In 1911, on a Saturday afternoon when workers began thinking about their Sunday off, a fire started on the eighth floor of the ten-story Asch Building in Manhattan where the Triangle Company occupied the top three floors with 500 workers.   >> Read On

"Agriculture as Sacrament" - by Fr. Bud Grant
For several decades researchers at the Land Institute near Salina, Kan., have been working on what founder Wes Jackson calls “agro-ecosystems.”  Rather than chemical and till intensive farming of non-native annuals, farmers could use natural hybrids of native perennials.  Eastern Gamma Grass and Illinois Bundleflower, for example, produce three and four   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Migration Issues Complicate Farm Worker Ministry" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
President Obama has announced administrative changes in deportation policy for those undocumented who do not present a danger to American society. The changes are good news for families being separated by present practices and for students who have lived most of their lives in this country. Yet the changes only apply to the small percentage of people who are caught in the we   >> Read On

Book Review: "Small Books on Big Ideas II" - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
Ten Commandments for the Environment. By WOODENE KOENIG-BRICKER. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2009. Pp. 144.  As a service to NCRLC readers, I thought it might be helpful to offer occasional reviews of “small” books on “big” ideas, that is, relat   >> Read On

Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships: "Toolkit" Guide to government services
The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships have developed a helpful "Toolkit" guide for organizations and groups to access federal government services. This guide points out particular opportunities to form partnerships with Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships across government, as well as helpful information on how to app   >> Read On

USCCB Report on the Debt Ceiling Debate: Little Concern for the Least Among Us
The debt ceiling debate demonstrated the partisan, ideological, and dysfunctional polarization that dominates Washington. While the crisis of default was averted, this political spectacle was disappointing, ominous, and just a beginning. As advocates of poor and vulnerable people, people of faith are greatly concerned for their future.   There is good news:   >> Read On

"Christian and Secular Environmentalists: From Criticism to Common Ground" - by Fr. Bud Grant
Secular ecologists have long been suspicious of Christianity.  It is worth explaining why people of faith have been mistrusted by environmentalists and from there to locate the common ground that can be used to overcome that wariness for the sake of advancing our common objectives.  After all, that the ecological crises already endangering the quality of our lives r   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: 'Bad rap' for workers and farmers" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
A farmer said, "Father, farmers get a bad rap..." A union organizer said, "Migrant workers get a bad rap..." An OSHA representative said, "We get a bad rap from both the farmer and the worker..." Good people in all walks of life have suffered from the "bad rap." Exploitation and inappropriate activities by a few make life hard for those striving to do good in their lives. Sc   >> Read On

"Catholic Environmental Aesthetics" - by Fr. Bud Grant
Recently I got a call from one of my best friends.  He was closing up the county nature preserve he administers high in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.  He called to share an overwhelming sense of beauty and of the Creator he was experiencing at the sight of a tremendous twilight thunderstorm over the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolis.  His voice held the sadne   >> Read On

Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis holds Rural Life Sunday
About 300 people attended the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis' Rural Life Sunday, June 26, at the Gergan Farm near Hastings, Minn. Bishop Lee Piché was the main celebrant of the Mass, followed by a picnic and games for the children. NCRLC executive director, Jim Ennis, also attended the event.

Pope says family farms help ensure stable food security
On July 1, Pope Benedict XVI received participants in the thirty-seventh Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The pope cautioned against price speculation, and said that "poverty, underdevelopment and the resulting hunger are often the outcome of selfish attitudes which, arising from man's heart, find expression in his social   >> Read On

"Environmental Sacramentality" - by Fr. Bud Grant
Some time ago, while teaching a course in Italy, I found myself at an evening concert in the crypt of the basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.  With my students, I had just come from Rome which, for all its wonders, is a hectic and disorienting city.  I’d been anxiously at my tasks and was tired enough that I’d contemplated skipping the concert, nonethele   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Barriers to sacramental reception for campesinos"- by Fr. Mike McAndrew
A migrant farm worker said, "Reglas de la iglesia aquí nos niegan la gracia de los sacramentos." (Rules of the Church here deny us the grace of the sacraments.) It was the summer of 2007, I had been working with farm workers for about eight years when I heard these words. The campesino was speaking of barriers that people encounter for their children to be baptized or   >> Read On

Archbishop Dolan on Subsidiarity and Solidarity
A couple of months ago, the bishops of the state of New York enjoyed a working luncheon with our new governor.  It was a productive and enlightening visit. At the conclusion, Governor Andrew Cuomo made an observation that has stuck with me.  He commented:  “Most people who come to see me lobby on behalf of their own needs, their own group, or their   >> Read On

The Federal Budget Reflects Our Values
by Fr. John S. Rausch Last February when the U.S. Catholic bishops wanted to underscore the morality involved in budget priorities, they asked Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire to write members of Congress. “On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,” he wrote as chairman of their Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, “w   >> Read On

"Good News in Priestly Formation" - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education may soon become a “silent partner” in the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.  Okay, not really. But it was still pleasing for this academic to read of their recent announcement1 to increase the amount of  philosophical formation required of students receiving a degree in   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Following the harvest – La Corrida (The Circuit)" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
Fourteen years ago I was introduced to migrant workers in The Dalles, Ore., during the cherry harvest. The harvest brings over 6,000 workers to the area for a period of four to eight weeks. Many of the workers come to The Dalles after the harvest winds down in Stockton, Calif. After the harvest in Oregon they move on to Washington, Montana and Idaho for more cherries or begi   >> Read On

"The 'Good' and the Environment" - by Fr. Bud Grant
Consider the word ‘good’.  What is the difference between doing good and being good, or between a good dog and a good boy?  What makes a good Christian?  Defining this elusive word is key to Catholic Ethics.  Defining it in reference to nature is the heart of Catholic Environmental Ethics which, though still nascent, is not without great resou   >> Read On

"MATER ET MAGISTRA Or 'Well Begun is Half Done'" - by Dr. Christopher Thompson
In May, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is sponsoring an International Congress marking the 50th anniversary of John XXIII’s social encyclical, Mater et Magistra. It’s a great occasion to take stock of our efforts to engage these issues in a sustained manner and I am honored to be taking part in the congress. But I will have to admit that for t   >> Read On

"Matter Matters" - by Fr. Bud Grant
In 1967 Science Magazine published a seminal article by historian Lynn White Jr.  Western civilization, he says, is the source of environmental degradation.  The root cause is "Judeo-Christian teleology," with its "implicit faith in perpetual progress."  Further, environmental problems are "at least partially to be explained as an Occidental, voluntarist reali   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: Summer programs for children" - by Fr. Mike McAndrew
It is appropriate that at this time of year I address a need to offer alternative programs of preparation for the sacraments for those unable to attend the ordinary programs of sacramental preparation offered in many parishes. The migrant farm worker is not the only one who needs this consideration, but their particular way of life illustrates the challenges some people face   >> Read On

"And God Saw That it was Very Good" - by Fr. Bud Grant
    "Thinking the unthought" is the theological attempt to find guidance from the ancients for problems that they would never have imagined, like global warming, for example.  The Bible is our most obvious resource, but caution is needed.  It is a collection of wildly diverse theological treatises written and redacted over hundreds of years from a   >> Read On

"Campesino Ministry: A Heritage of Faith, Inculturated Evangelization" by Fr. Mike McAndrew
The classic image of farm worker ministry can be experienced in the celebration of Mass in the fields with workers and their families gathered around a table decorated with images of Christ and the Virgin. There are flowers and candles. Sometimes the campesinos prepare the space as though it was an outdoor cathedral. There tends to be a solemnity based on the gratitude of th   >> Read On

Archbishop Carlson Speaks on Stewardship of Creation
We hear a lot about the environment these days. Is global warming really happening? How serious is our abuse of the natural resources of our planet — the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we cultivate? Have we lost our ability to marvel at the beauty of Earth and the vastness of the cosmos? Do we regard ourselves as "masters of the universe" or as stewards of w   >> Read On

Catholics Call on Congress to Protect Poor and Vulnerable
In February, more than 300 Catholic social ministry leaders from around the country visited Capitol Hill to speak out for social justice and the dignity of the poor and vulnerable. NCRLC was proud to be part of this Catholic gathering and we continue to join efforts and raise our voice by contacting our U.S. Representatives and Senators with this message: “Do not mak   >> Read On

"Sustainable Agriculture" - Matt Liebman
This article first appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Catholic Rural Life. On Oct. 4, 1979, Pope John Paul II addressed a crowd of several hundred thousand assembled at Living History Farms about the interrelated issues of farming, environment and community. In his words, the pope called for gratitude to God for the gift of working with the land, steward   >> Read On

"Spirituality of the Campesino" by Fr. Mike McAndrew
(Printer-friendly version)    Last month I wrote an introduction to Campesino ministry, our Church’s outreach to the agricultural workers in the United States. In this article I hope to give a glimpse into the people about whom much of the political debate on immigration swirls. The people about whom I speak are Hispanic. They comprise both American c   >> Read On

"A Response to 'The Greening of America, Catholic Style'" by Dr. Christopher Thompson
(Printer-friendly version)    There is a fascinating article co-authored by Christopher Hamlin and John T. McGreevy, both of the University of Notre Dame, entitled, "The Greening of America, Catholic Style: 1930-1950."  It chronicles the rise and fall of the “green revolution” philosophy advocated by the National Catholic Rural Life Co   >> Read On

International Women's Day Initiative 2011
To celebrate and honor women, Oxfam America is organizing events nation-wide that highlight the critical role that women everywhere play in feeding the world. The National Catholic Rural Life Conference is supporting this initiative and encouraging our network members to participate or to organize their own local events.   The cornerstone of this initi   >> Read On

Fresno bishop passes away
Bishop John T. Steinbock, Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, passed into eternal glory at 3:10 a.m. Sunday, December 5, 2010. He was surrounded by family, his pastor, and friends. The bishop was laid to rest on Dec. 14, at St. Peter's Cemetery in Fresno following a Mass of Burial at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fresno. Thousands of people turn   >> Read On

Project with CCHD advances
NCRLC’s program with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) to increase the number of fundable CCHD grant applications from rural communities is off and running. NCRLC is providing a consulting assistance role for groups in rural communities who want to apply for CCHD funds. Our focus is especially in dioceses with high rates of poverty and unemployment.    >> Read On

Pope urges a reevaluation of agriculture
(Article first appeared on Zenit News, Nov. 14, 2010) VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2010 ( The time is now to launch a reevaluation of agriculture, and place the sector back into its rightful place in the global economy, says Benedict XVI. The Pope reflected on the situation of modern agriculture today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in   >> Read On

Pope says everyone should commit to agricultural sector
If the world wants to be united against hunger, then poverty must be fought through "authentic human development,"using the fact that a person is a unity of body, soul and spirit, Pope Benedict said in his 2010 World Food Day address to Mr Jacques Diouf, Director General Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). While much has been achieved thr   >> Read On

Catholic Colleges become stewards of environment
Catholic colleges and universities from around the country are finding ways to care for the environment. From installing more efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as low-flow shower heads in dorms, to using 100 percent recycled napkins in the dining service and recycling edible food waste, these schools are finding more and more ways to be good stewards of creation.   >> Read On

"Should the Church be involved in agricultural policy?" by Jim Ennis
By Jim Ennis Executive Director, NCRLC   A popular rural radio program recently posed this question to its listeners: “Do you think churches should take positions on agricultural issues?”   The underlying subtext was that faith-based organizations, especially churches, have NO business taking positions on agricultural matters. In the   >> Read On

"Time for Creation" Around the World
  The World Council of Churches promotes the period from September 1 (the beginning of the Orthodox church year) to St. Francis' Feast on October 4 as "Time for Creation". This is a devotional time to pray for and with people around the world in the name of the care of Creation. It is a time to realize that ongoing environmental degradation is threat   >> Read On

Protect dignity of workers, says USCCB Labor Day 2010 statement
As our nation celebrates Labor Day this Monday, September 6, 2010, recommended reading should be the Labor Day Statement by Bishop William F. Murphy, Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. In "A New'Social Contract' for Today's 'New Things,'" where Bishop Murphy remembered the millions of American   >> Read On

Extreme Weather Events Match Climate Change Predictions
"The summer's heat waves baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa and eastern Asia, and above all Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record. Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes." So    >> Read On

Board Member Leaves Mark on NCRLC
After nearly two decades on the NCRLC board of directors, there’s no doubt that rural ministry is in Sister Christine Pratt’s blood. “I’ve always had a love for the land and for nature,” the Ursaline sister from Brown County, Ohio, said. “I always loved the concept and idea of a farm.” Sister Christine first joined the board in 19   >> Read On

Celebrate 100 years of Diocesan and Farming History in Toledo
Applications for the Century Farm Awards are now being accepted in the Diocese of Toledo. Applicants should submit copies of old deeds, titles, or parish or family religious records indicating exact date to support claims. The information must show family residence and ownership of a farm for at least 100 years. Name, address, phone number, parish and deanery must accompany ver   >> Read On

New Board Members Join NCRLC
Jenny Kraska, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, is one of he newest members to join the NCRLC Board.   Kraska grew up in Prior Lake, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. She attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., where she graduated with a double major in Catholic studies and theology. She continued her graduate studies a   >> Read On

USCCB Web Resource on Immigration
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Migration and Refugee Services has partnered with Catholic University of America to develop the "U.S. Catholic Bishops and Immigration" website. The website highlights the role of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the Church in our nation's experience of immigration and the Church's involvement in shaping immigration policy. Le   >> Read On

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
NCRLC is one among many faith groups partnering with USDA in their efforts to promote local food and rural development. KNOW YOUR FOOD, KNOW YOUR FARMER is a USDA-wide effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers. It is also the start of a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food    >> Read On