Jacek Orzechowski 03-12-2014
Photo: Jacek Orzechowski

a Franciscan young adult group at St. Camillus created a large mural about Easter. Photo: Jacek Orzechowski

Last fall, on a Sunday afternoon, as I walked out of the church, a young man tugged on my Franciscan habit. It was Miguel, a member of our Latino choir.

“Father,” he said, “please, pray for the people of my home parish back in El Salvador, especially for one of the priests who has received death threats.”

Startled, I asked: “What is happening there?"

“These priests are organizing against the multinational companies,” he said. “The companies are looking for gold. What will be left for our people? Only poisoned water, a wasteland, and death.”

A few weeks later, I had another similar conversation with a group from Guatemala. Theirs was a similar tale of how indigenous communities were being threatened by mining projects.

As a Catholic and a member of the Franciscan Order, I believe that we are called to “read the signs of the times” and to listen to the cry of the poor and the “groaning” of God’s Creation.

Brandon Hook 04-18-2013
Brandon Hook/Sojourners

Oxfam displayed images telling the story of Cambodian land grabbing. Brandon Hook/Sojourners

Photographs tell stories. At least, good ones usually do.

And there were some good pictures on display in Washington, D.C., for Oxfam America’s pop-up photo exhibit from acclaimed photographer Emma Hardy, whose work is regularly featured in The New York Times magazine, TIMEVanity Fair, and Vogue.

The images tell the particular stories of Cambodians directly affected by land grabbing, the buying or leasing of large pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies, governments, and individuals, which in turn displaces the poor and vulnerable.

Jeffrey Buchanan 04-17-2012
Photo courtesy Bayou Grace Community Services

Fr. Frederic Brunet blessing ships. Photo courtesy Bayou Grace Community Services

Faith and fishing: two central parts of Louisiana’s vibrant coastal culture. Every April, going back generations, you can see them intersect in a celebration of bayou life at the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Chauvin, La. Families welcome the opening of the year’s first shrimp season by coming together to pray for family and friends who depend on the seafood industry, and for a healthy ecosystem that yields a bountiful catch.

“We pray for the safety and welfare of all fishermen,” said Fr. Frederic Brunet, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic church who has presided over the event for many years. “Bless the shrimp and crabs and help us to catch a lot of them.”

This year saw the second blessing since the BP Oil Spill shut down the Gulf fishing industry in 2010. Since then, many shrimpers have reported problems: poor catches and startling irregularities (such as shrimp with no eyes).

Will McKitterick 09-14-2010
Pakistan is still in the midst of recovering from a devastating flood -- one of the worst humanitarian disasters in its history -- a
Jim Wallis 10-29-2009
We've all been watching carefully as the Obama administration tries to decide how to move forward on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
Congress is hard at work on historic energy and climate change legislation. The House of Representatives plans to vote on a bill in the next few weeks, with the Senate to follow in early fall.
Jim Wallis 05-14-2009
The industrialized world's collective failure to both regulate pollution and curb gross overconsumption has put millions and billions of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people at increase