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Moving Forward Together

Bishop Ricken meets with ESTHER, JOSHUA leaders. Praises work, reinstates CCHD collection, and calls for partnership.

February 17, 2011

Green Bay Bishop David Ricken held a meeting yesterday with Catholic leaders and priests working with ESTHER and JOSHUA as well as a meeting with the elected leaders of the organizations.  In these meetings Bishop Ricken praised the work of ESTHER and JOSHUA, citing particularly our recent impact around shelter for the homeless and work in support of immigrant rights.  Ricken also announced the reinstatement of the CCHD collection in the Diocese, set “partnership” instead of “membership” as the way Catholic parishes will participate in ESTHER and JOSHUA in the future, and promised the formation of a diocesan Commission on Living Justice in the fall.

Bishop Ricken noted that “he is very proud of the many works of ESTHER and JOSHUA” and that the work of the organizations “is truly commendable and is an example of living out the call of charity and justice in our day.”

After issuing a statement a year ago, Bishop Ricken used this meeting to make abundantly clear that ESTHER and JOSHUA have worked in good faith with the diocese and parishes throughout the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, that the organizations have been consistent with Catholic social teaching and that “the organizations have done much great work since their beginnings.”

In addition, Bishop Ricken announced a commitment to important social-justice work for the poor, oppressed and marginalized by reinstating the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection in the diocese.

We are encouraged by Bishop Ricken’s decision to reinstate the CCHD collection. A little over a year ago the CCHD collection was the center of an attack, and victory was declared by those calling for the removal of social justice work from the church when the CCHD collection was suspended in this diocese. The collection is used to further work on important justice issues and to support groups that work with (not just for) the poor people of our community.

In addition, Bishop Ricken set forth a policy that calls for partnership rather than formal membership between Catholic and non-catholic entities within the diocese. This policy will apply to all relationships that the diocese and parishes have with other organizations and will impact fifteen parishes that have membership between ESTHER and JOSHUA. Bishop Ricken is also encouraging individual Catholics to remain involved with the work of ESTHER and JOSHUA and maintain individual membership.

Leaders of ESTHER and JOSHUA look forward to partnering with Catholic parishes as well as with individual Catholic leaders to move forward with the good work of the organizations.

ESTHER and JOSHUA remain focused on our call to do justice. This change will not weaken our ability to stand with the poor, challenge injustices, come together and seek justice as an interfaith community, or to act from our faith convictions to build strong and just communities. Our work will move forward with our Catholic brothers and sisters at our side.

A gathering will be held in the next few weeks with individual Catholic leaders involved with ESTHER and JOSHUA to further inform its membership, offer some clarity, and discuss next steps.

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