“This new pastoral letter highlights the ‘magisterium of the poor’ and continues the tradition of the previous letters, with more than a thousand listenings across Appalachia with special attention to marginalized persons and the devastated earth. [The Catholic Committee of Appalachia has] listened with their hearts as Pope Francis has called us to do.”
Serving the Lost and Forgotten in Appalachia
“Indigenous prophecy meets scientific prediction. What we have known and believed, you also now know: The Earth is out of balance. The plants are disappearing, the animals are dying, and the very weather – rain, wind, fire itself – reacts against the actions of the human being. For the future of the children, for the health of our Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the rest of Creation, we call upon the people of the world to hold your leaders accountable.” Circles of Wisdom: Native Peoples/Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 1998
Fr. Neil Pezzulo, First Vice President of the Glenmary Home Missioners is featured in a recent Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) series exploring Justice and Peace from the perspective of the religious working with those most affected by these issues. Neil works in the Appalachian region of the United States, particularly in the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky, where the battle lines over energy, jobs, and environmental justice intersect. Nationally, much of the current conversation has been around a “just transition” from a fossil fuel-based economy to an economy that can create new jobs in renewable energy. Neil feels strongly that men and women religious must work together with local environmental groups where young leaders and new energy are rapidly emerging.
Background for some of the issues that Fr. Neil works with:
The Telling Takes Us Home
The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories That Shape Us, a "Peoples' Pastoral" from the Catholic Committee on Appalachia (CCA) was released in December. It comes on the 40th anniversary of This Land is Home to Me, its first letter in 1975, followed in 1995 by a second letter, At Home in the Web of Life. This latest document wasn't written by the bishops of the region, but is a letter "by-the-people, for-the-people." Its 72 pages flow in a beautiful poetic style. A description of the pastoral in the National Catholic Reporter says it is a "grassroots letter to the world, [and] it springs from multitude of voices: the land, women, coalfield residents, miners, economically vulnerable communities, the homeless, imprisoned, people of color, and the LGBT community -- all of whom are longing for justice."
Link to the full peoples pastoral on Appalachia