Catholic Rural Life | William L. Patenaude | CWR
“A large and busy family unified by working together on a family farm," says Bishop Paul D. Etienne of Cheyenne, Wyoming, "is a good worth promoting and protecting."
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.” — Prayer at the preparation of the gifts
You gain special insights when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the heartland of America—or any place where farming is the foundation of a culture. For Catholics whose vocation is feeding others, the gifts of bread and wine brought to the altar are not commodities from a religious supply store. They are products of soil and sweat. They exist because of business acumen, tough choices, and unyielding trust in nature, neighbors, family, and God.
The Catholic Church concerns herself with such work. She worries over the health of water and soil, the treatment of animals, the economic and nutritional value of crops, and the fair and efficient distribution of food. Most especially she embraces and supports the families and small towns that feed the world.
Farming as a sacred profession
“A large and busy family unified by working together on a family farm is a good worth promoting and protecting,” said His Excellency, Bishop Paul D. Etienne of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The bishop made these comments earlier this month at a dinner in a St. Paul, Minnesota hotel. He spoke to other clergy as well as religious, theologians, farmers, ranchers, and their supporters.
“Society depends on the country and the farm for the produce that feeds the nation—the world,” he said. “Even more, it needs the wholesome vitality of the families produced by rural living. There is a sacramental nature to living and working in a rural setting. Farming provides a common purpose and a natural setting that helped pull and hold a family together.”
Bishop Etienne is the president of Catholic Rural Life, a small, energetic non-profit working with and for America’s farmers and rural communities. Its mission is “to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ for the social, economic, and spiritual development of rural America with responsibility for the care of God's creation.”
In 1923, Fr. Edwin V. O’Hara founded the organization in St. Louis, Missouri.