When the Roman Catholic bishops of the world gathered at the Second Vatican Council, they articulated the Church as “the people of God” – not only the pope, bishops, and priests, but the entire people of God. They further articulated, in Gaudium et Spes, how the Church was to be present in the modern world; and their key was dialogue.
Since 1970, members of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) have been in dialogue with the people of Appalachia. We meet them where they are: in the hills and hollers; in small towns and big cities; in the coal mines, factories, schools; and on front porches. As we listen to their stories, we hear the cry of the poor, the excluded and the forgotten. It has become increasingly easier to hear Earth’s cry, too, and indeed that of the entire cosmos. In listening, we come to find their stories resonate deeply with our own and we learn from them how profoundly empowering storytelling can be.
Now the People’s Pastoral website is a sacred, safe place for us to continue the dialogue. Here, we gather up that cry and give it a public voice; and we invite you to add yours to it. Do you struggle, too? Are you an advocate for Earth or others not being heard? It’s easy. Tell us what it’s like to be you in your place. We will share them all through the Pastoral and the People of God will have one voice, a universal echo from Appalachia, that invites the church to respond in action.