We're winding up our Collaborative Formation Gathering in DC and tomorrow we will be heading back to NY. Yesterday and today we have been wandering around DC and seeing more about how our government and the Catholic Church work.
Yesterday we met with a variety of organizations, mostly Catholic, that work on social justice and global peace issues.
The most powerful place we visited was TASSC International, an organization to support survivors of torture and advocate for its abolition. Their offices are tucked away among the various buildings associated with the Catholic University of America and when you walk in there you can just sense the pain and suffering of the people they serve. They said they have a caseload of over 300 people and that every day approximately 2 new cases walk through their doors. If I lived in DC I would definitely volunteer for them.
In the afternoon we visited the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the big dogs!
They told us a bit about how the Conference works along with Catholic Relief Services to lobby the US government to fight global poverty and injustice. I may not always agree with them on all of their stances, but it really gave me a broader picture of how much good work the Catholic Church does around the world. I know we (the Catholic Church) get a bad rep in a lot of ways, but seriously folks, Catholic Social Teaching, check it out. It's pretty revolutionary, I think.
Today we break off from the group and visit our State Senators and Representatives. Just want to make an introduction and let them know that they have constituents abroad and that we'll be monitoring how US policy plays out on the ground in developing countries. We'll see how that goes.
AND, this afternoon we get a visit with PAULA!!