POWER is strong because it is interfaith—and also because its members continually look to their own faith traditions for fresh insight on the sacred work of social justice.
Inspired by the witness of Pope Francis—and his historic 2015 visit to Philadelphia and other US cities—Catholics in POWER and the PICO National Network developed the “Year of Encounter with Pope Francis” program. The goal: Engage the hearts and minds of Catholics in grassroots organizing to transform society—and to come together across racial and economic lines that often divide communities, including faith communities.
To date, 12 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia—and 150 nation-wide—have participated in the program.
On the Move from Reflection to Action:
To date, POWER has engaged 12 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the program. 150 others through POWER’s sister-federations in the PICO Network. Highlights of our first year in the Philadelphia area (spring 2015-spring 2016):
- Year of Encounter kick-off conference at St Joseph’s University. Keynotes: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez (Pope Francis’ advisor) & panel of witnesses on racism. In honor of May Day/ St Joseph the Worker, participants prayed with underpaid airport workers whose rights POWER supports.
- Parish-based series on 5 forms of “exclusion” Pope Francis calls us to address: Racism, Poverty, Immigration Policies, Criminal Justice practices, Climate Change. http://www.piconetwork.org/community-tools/year-of-encounter
- Meeting with Cardinal Peter Turkson (Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace) during Pope Francis’ Philadelphia visit (Sept 2015)
- Monthly multi-parish gatherings to explore bold new ways parishes can be catalysts for change that affirms the dignity of vulnerable people.