Written from the view of the people, release coincides with the anniversaries of ‘This Land is Home to Me’ and ‘At Home in the Web of Life’
SPENCER, W.Va. – The Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA), a social justice organization based here, recently issued a regional grassroots pastoral letter on the call to be a “church of the poor” and the transformative power of people’s stories in the work for justice.
“The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us,” is the result of four years of planning and listening sessions, interviews, and tours conducted throughout Appalachia and across religious traditions.
The release comes on the 40th anniversary of CCA’s groundbreaking 1975 pastoral letter, “This Land is Home to Me,” and on the 20th anniversary of its follow-up letter, “At Home in the Web of Life.” Both of these letters were signed by the Roman Catholic bishops of the region.
For this third letter, called a “People’s Pastoral,” the planning team did not seek the signatures of the region’s bishops, but rather sought to lift up the authority of the people, their stories, and earth itself as an expression of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of the “preferential option for the poor.”
Since 1970, the CCA has existed to serve Appalachia, her poor and the entire web of creation. Mountaintop removal, labor, private prison development, sustainable lifestyles and communities, poverty, health, clean water, racism and climate change are among those issues which CCA has addressed. CCA has taken responsibility for the organization and ongoing promulgation of the “This Land is Home to Me” and “At Home in the Web of Life.”
The People’s Pastoral is available for download on CCA’s website. It can be read here. Printed booklets are available to order on the website as well. A full website with discussion guides, resources, photographs, art, action plans, and more is forthcoming at www.peoplespastoral.org. The 1975 and 1995 pastoral letters are also available from CCA.
© Appalachian Chronicle, 2015
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