WASHINGTON- On Thursday, Sept. 10, NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, will launch its fourth national “Nuns on the Bus” tour themed, “Bridge the Divides: Transform Politics.” The tour is a response to Pope Francis’s historic U.S. visit, and urgent call in his recent encyclical (Laudato Si’) to build an economy of inclusion. The 13-day, seven-state tour will kick off in St. Louis on Sept. 10 and end in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 22, where NETWORK will host a rally to welcome Pope Francis.
“Pope Francis calls for an economy of inclusion,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK Executive Director. “In order to do that, we must have a politics of inclusion that fosters economic justice, prioritizes the common good, and builds community where everyone’s voice is heard. By listening to the people, especially those on the margins, and responding by eliminating factors that perpetuate poverty and injustice, we will create change.”
“When we return to Washington, we will lobby Congress as they continue to negotiate the 2016 federal budget. We will call on them to raise spending caps so human needs programs can be fully funded, and to expand and make permanent key improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.”
The more than 2,000-mile bus trip will include 33 events such as town hall meetings, visits to shelters, transitional housing facilities, schools, food pantries, parishes, congregations, and social justice ministries, in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.
While in Tennessee, Sister Simone and the other nuns on the bus will lead a town hall meeting in Memphis on Monday, Sept. 14, 7:00 p.m. at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Marian Hall), 1695 Central Avenue. On Wednesday, Sept. 16 the sisters will lead a town hall meeting in Nashville at Vanderbilt Divinity School (Reading Room), 411 21st Avenue S at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday, Sept. 17 at 10:00 a.m.the sisters will hold a press conference following a tour at Thistle Farms-Magdalene, 5122 Charlotte Pike. The Catholic sisters will meet with members of the community throughout each day.
“We look forward to meeting and learning alongside people in these communities and returning to Washington to advocate for a faithful budget that responds to their needs,” said Sister Simone.
When the bus returns to Washington on Sept. 22, the sisters will host a rally at 2:00 p.m. (location TBA) to welcome Pope Francis to the U.S. On Sept. 23, the sisters will attend the White House Papal Arrival Ceremony. On Sept. 24, Sister Simone will attend Pope Francis’s address to the joint session of Congress, as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s guest.
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, which educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation, has a more than 40-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.
(Editor’s Note: While I applaud their desire for social justice, I question their advocating for more big government spending when the government wastes money left and right. Let’s call for balancing the budget first.)