Eco Catholic: The pastoral letter, titled The Telling Takes Us Home, seeks to give this often-overlooked region a public voice with a universal echo.
Forty years since the bishops of Appalachia first called attention to the lives and struggles of people in the region, a new effort is underway to raise the voices of Appalachians celebrating their accomplishments and confronting their struggles.
Work is continuing on a new pastoral letter called the People's Pastoral. It is percolating from the Appalachians themselves and will reflect on their stories, struggles and hopes, said Jeannie Kirkhope, coordinator of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, which is organizing the project.
Pastoral letters tend to function as top-down, formal documents from Catholic bishops filled with instructions and moral directives.
But for its next statement, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, a 44-year old organization devoted to social and environmental justice, is flipping that model upside down.