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Open Letter from Call To Action

OPEN LETTER TO LAY CHURCH WORKERS

March 19, 2012

Dear Catholic Church Workers,

We send you greetings today as the church commemorates St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Workers. On this day celebrating workers, we thank you for your ministries to the people of God. With more than 30,000 lay ministers in the U.S. church today and countless others in Catholic-affiliated ministries, you are an integral part of the leadership and sustainability of our communities.

You also suffer some of the deepest injustices among workers in North America. Many of you have suffered from low and unequal wages, no contract with your employer, lack of unemployment insurance, unjust firings for your support of women, the LGBT community or abuse survivors, and no legal recourse.

We also know that you often feel unable to speak up for that in which you believe or rendered voiceless by structures that exclude your input. The last few weeks have proven this again as Catholic officials and government leaders have debated over whether you should be allowed comprehensive healthcare access, including hormone therapy, or in popular parlance, "contraception" - but nobody has asked what you think or need.

We also recognize that many church workers, despite the recent government compromise, will continue to be kept from comprehensive healthcare access because you work under diocesan insurance plans not addressed by the compromise.

Today, we write to you because we want you to know you are not alone.

We hear from many of you and we know that not everyone is able to speak publicly. Nonetheless, know we are here for you. If you need to talk, even confidentially, you have a place to turn.

St. Joseph was a man who respected and worked with Mary, a woman, to create a family that gave birth to a new faith; a new moment in the world. We look forward to a time when church officials will also respect lay workers so that as true co-workers in the vineyard together we will create a better church; a better world.

The 25,000 members of Call To Action-many of whom are church workers- stand with you and thank you for your continued ministry to the people of God. You, like St. Joseph, are carpenters among our faith communities; builders of our future.

Sincerely,

Jim FitzGerald
Executive Director of Call To Action

Ruth Kolpack
CTA Church Worker Justice Advocate

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