“The concept of “labor priest,” epitomized by Msgr. John Egan and Msgr. George Higgins in the 20th century, has been given a new twist to meet the realities of the 21st century”, reports the Catholic News Service.
“The priests — more than two dozen of them, and all working with the approval of their diocesan bishops — are being recruited to help immigrant and low-wage workers.
“The clerics met in Chicago in June with a number of mentors, speakers and labor leaders to hone their focus and to give them tools for the work ahead.
“We don’t know what to call it yet,” said Father J. Cletus Kiley, a priest from the Archdiocese of Chicago who works in Washington as director of immigration policy for UNITE HERE, a union for hotel, restaurant and textile workers. “I call it the labor priest community.
“Are they priest-advocates for workers? Are they advocates for immigrant workers? The immigrant part is an important nuance. Many priests are working in immigrant communities. The abuse of workers in those situations is pretty strong, and many of these folks are in service industries and lower-wage industries,” the priest told Catholic News Service.
“Father Kiley said the National Federation of Priests Councils is providing a home for the labor-priest initiative, and that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development was establishing an online community for priests who are part of the initiative.
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