By Joy E. Carroll
As part of a project sponsored by the Social Justice Ministry at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Albuquerque, Mike Shawver and I facilitated two letter-writing workshops during the week leading up to Bread for the World’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., on June 12, 2012.
We had a small but faithful turnout at each of the workshops, and we even had a future letter writer in our midst! (Though, at this moment in time, she is happy to simply play with the paper and the pen!)
|Mike and Rosie Shawver write letters (and Sofia Shawver gives them moral support)|
At Immaculate Conception, we focused our letters on Sen. Tom Udall, asking him to protect funding for Poverty-Focused Foreign Assistance, given that he is on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and so has the most influence over the budget. Several people, who were generous with their time and energy, also wrote letters to Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Martin Heinrich, as well as Sen. Udal. Some of the letters came from our JustFaith class.
The couple dozen letters that we wrote added to the totals that were sent from 12 churches in New Mexico to Congress. But our efforts at Immaculate Conception also focused on education to our parish as a whole. Mike Shawver and other representatives from the Social Justice Ministry joined me after all the Masses the weekend prior to the workshops, to both invite people to the workshops, and also to educate parishioners on current issues that affect the poor and hungry both in the U.S. and abroad.
Taking part in 2012’s Offering of Letters through Bread for the World has been a really good experience. I had learned back in college the importance of advocacy and the personal necessity of advocating in the context of community that motivates and supports. I have found Bread for the World to be that community that not only educates and advocates, but also motivates and supports people in the process.