WASHINGTON—The lack of jobs that can support families, particularly among those without access to higher education, has placed heavy burdens on families and communities across the country. This Labor Day, the Church draws close to these families and expresses words of hope, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development in the 2016 Labor Day statement.
In the statement, Archbishop Wenski draws attention to Pope Francis' recent address to the U.S. Congress, in which he highlighted the connection between economic pressures and stresses on the family. Archbishop Wenski in particular laments the struggles of those in communities with elevated rates of poverty, substance abuse, and the dissolution of the family. "The Church weeps with all of these families, with these children, whose homes and worlds are broken," Archbishop Wenski said.
While the United States is undergoing a difficult time with political tensions, fear, and anxiety, Archbishop Wenski challenges people to respond with faith and action. "For our dynamics to change, we must replace fear with a fuller vision that can be powerfully supported by our faith…the Church's history is filled with communities that took seriously the call to be their 'brother's keeper' (Gen. 4:9), faced challenges together, and lifted up the 'cry of the poor' (Psalm 34:7)."
To those who are experiencing isolation and feel left behind in today's economy, Archbishop Wenski offers assurance of the Church's solidarity. He said, "For those who feel left behind today, know that the Church wants to walk with you, in the company of the God who formed your 'inmost being' and who knows that you are 'wonderfully made.' (Psalm 139:13-14)."
The full text of the 2016 Labor Day statement is available online.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Labor Day, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Pope Francis, poverty, substance abuse, economic challenges, families, children
Norma Montenegro Flynn
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