People’s Pastoral Presented to Pope Francis

Last year, our friends at Salt + Light Media visited CCA’s home office in West Virginia to film a segment for their upcoming documentary The Francis Impact. During their visit they suggested we give them an inscribed copy of CCA’s “People’s Pastoral,” The Telling Takes Us Home, to hopefully pass along to Pope Francis, as they are frequently in Rome covering events there (see photo above).

Salt + Light has been in Rome this month covering the 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth, now underway, as well as the recent canonizations of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Pope Paul VI, and five additional new saints. While in Rome, Salt + Light CEO Fr. Tom Rosica was able to hand this copy of Pastoral directly to Pope Francis.

The inscription on the title page reads:

Estimado Su Santidad, Papa Francisco,

Esta carta pastoral del pueblo es una expresión de cómo la gente de fe está intentando escuchar atentamente el “magisterio de los pobres” en la región de los Apalaches en los Estados Unidos y escuchar también el llanto de la Tierra tan devastada por la minería y otras industrias extractivas. Aquí en las montañas de los Apalaches vemos claramente que lo que hacemos a la Tierra, lo hacemos también a los pobres. Le agradecemos a usted que escuche las voces de las bases, que camine con nuestro pueblo, y que nos desafíe a transformarnos en una Iglesia para los pobres, una Iglesia que protegerá y celebrará la santidad de nuestro hogar común.

Con nuestro amor,
Comité Católico de los Apalaches

Your Holiness, Pope Francis,

This “people’s pastoral” letter is an expression of how people of faith are trying to listen closely to the “magisterium of the poor” in the Appalachian region of the United States, including the cry of Earth, which is so devastated here from mining and other extractive industries. In the Appalachian mountains, we see very clearly that what we do to Earth we do to the poor. Thank you for listening to voices at the grassroots, for walking with our people and our movements, and for challenging us to become a church of the poor that protects and celebrates the sacredness of our common home.

With our love,
Catholic Committee of Appalachia

Fr. Rosica writes, “I presented the Pastoral Letter to the Pope last evening. He brought it home with him and made reference to it this morning when we spoke. Keep up the good work.”

Here is CCA’s reply to Fr. Rosica:

Fr. Tom, thank you so much for bringing our letter from Appalachia to the Pope! I’m more or less speechless hearing about this, but what a beautiful “ending” to the story of this pastoral letter from “the people”! And on such an special occasion, following the canonization of San Romero. We are all very excited to hear this.

Jeannie and I, as well as our folks in Kentucky and Virginia, were also very thankful to have spent time with Sebastian [Gomes] and his crew for the filming of The Francis Impact, and we’re looking forward to the release of this special film.

Again, thank you so much from the Catholic Committee of Appalachia for your support of our work!

– Michael Iafrate, Co-Coordinator, CCA

Congratulations to all of us at CCA, and to everyone who has participated in the making and “promulgation” of this pastoral letter from Appalachia, which after nearly three years is still touching the hearts of new people around the world! And special thanks to Angie Iafrate for translating our message to Pope Francis into Spanish!

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