Last month, two Franciscan Volunteer Ministers living and serving in ministries fostered by St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J., participated in Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2014, “Jesus Weeps — Resisting Violence, Building Peace.” The reflection below is by one of the two who wanted to share his experience about the 12th annual gathering. Past themes include immigration, food justice and gender inequality.
Dominick Butcher and I were privileged to take part in the 2014 Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference in Crystal City, Va., from March 21 to 24. We participated in discussions related to social justice issues, including income inequality, the United States drone war and gun violence prevention, as well as peace and justice. Dominick and I encountered many wonderful, dedicated participants who traveled from various regions throughout the country to attend this spectacular event.
On the Monday of the gathering, EAD participants brought their work and values to Capitol Hill in Washington. There, we met with our members of Congress to discuss legislation dedicated to serving the common good in the United States, and all over the world. Particularly, we focused on reducing gun violence and advocating for legislation to promote gun violence prevention, while shifting spending priorities from war to services designed for the common good in America and the world. Representatives from New York met with staff members from the offices of the Honorable Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and other members of Congress representing the Empire State.
Going forth, it is important to support and advocate for legislation dedicated to ending gun and other forms of domestic violence, while also advocating for peaceful resolutions to existing global conflicts. Overall, the EADs were a phenomenal opportunity to become and stay informed about issues facing our country and the world today.
— James La Grutta, a native of Campbell Hall, N.Y., will finish his Franciscan Volunteer Ministry service in Camden, N.J., in July.