“Northland Voices”, seven parishes of the Kansas City area working together for Catholic Social Justice, met at St. Therese Parish on May 20th. We used the powerful words of Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel to give purpose to our meeting: “Works of love directed to one’s neighbor are the most perfect external manifestation of the interior grace of the Holy Spirit.” This is especially inspirational as we move through the Easter season to Pentecost. Our group was moved by the testimonies of Mary Jo Vernon of the Platte County Health Department and Terrance Wise, a worker from Burger King. We heard stories of Northland families struggling paycheck to paycheck who had to choose between putting food on the table and seeing a doctor when they are sick. Too many in our community cannot meet their basic needs. Parish social services are all but tapped out because people are not making enough money to contribute much to the Church.
The purpose of our gathering was encouraging our parishioners to advocate on behalf of our struggling neighbors. The Communities Creating Opportunity and Jobs for Justice organizations coached us what to do. Last week, I was able to stand with Terrance Wise once again, in front of Burger King with about two hundred other strikers for a just wage and a chance to form a union. This is the one year anniversary of Fast Food Workers Organizing and Fighting to End Poverty Wages: a nation-wide movement to stand up against billion dollar corporations which pay poverty wages. We began organizing last year because we believe no one in America who works everyday should have to skip meals, live without utilities, or be unable to see a doctor. We are inspired by the words of Pope Francis, “The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges.”
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.