WASHINGTON, DC - A worldwide effort sponsored by the Vatican to energize and empower grassroots leaders will convene in Modesto, Calif., February 16-19. Twenty U.S. bishops will join nearly 700 participants representing 12 countries to examine and discuss collective responses to the issues of land, labor, lodging, racism and migration.
Celebrated as the first U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements (WMPM), the gathering is organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development (IHD), PICO National Network and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the U.S. bishops' national program working to break the cycle of poverty in the United States and educate on poverty and its causes.
"Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements represent a multitude of political perspectives both here in the United States and around the world," said Bishop David Talley of Alexandria, Louisiana, chairman of the USCCB subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. "We are here because, regardless of our political beliefs, we share a vision of a world in which the 'economies of exclusion' have been ended, and a commitment to working together to achieve that goal."
Long in the planning, the Modesto meeting was organized as a follow-up to three larger international meetings held in Rome in Oct. 2014 and Nov. 2016 and in Bolivia in July 2015.
"I join the Holy Father in inviting all 'to be protagonists of change of their own situation' and share his hope that we are able to deepen the well-springs of empathy in our society," said Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of IHD, who will deliver the keynote address. "We are fortunate to have this opportunity to build relationships, develop our understanding of societal structures which contribute to the 'economy of exclusion,' and to deepen solidarity between social justice movements in the United States and the Church."Persons not in Modesto can follow the convening online via live stream by visiting http://popularmovements.org/.