2023 Convocation in San Antonio
Over 300 leaders, clergy, religious, and bishops from 20 organizations gathered in San Antonio on February 28 to celebrate five years of Recognizing the Stranger, a West/Southwest IAF training, leadership formation, and parish organizing strategy.
The Convocation was highlighted by a video message from Pope Francis, who offered his “closeness and support” to the IAF network and its work to organize with immigrants and with those at the margins to encourage “participation of the Christian in public life.”
“My heart rejoices when I see that pastors, priests, and laity—leaders in their communities–together with civic organizations meet to discuss the best ways to overcome serious situations of injustice suffered by the excluded. I encourage and urge you to continue to do so.”
Co-sponsored by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), Recognizing the Stranger (RTS) has reached over 4,000 parishioners from 350 parishes, in 20 dioceses.
Elizabeth Valdez, Co-Director of RTS and Texas IAF director said, “this is recognition of five years of intensive training and formation for hundreds of leaders and organizers, to develop a process of discernment, reflection, and action. It has made us better organizers and leaders, and we are eager for the next phase of deepening and expanding parish organizing."
Special guests for the two day gathering included Daniel Cardinal DiNardo (Galveston-Houston), Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller (San Antonio), Bishop Mark Seitz (El Paso), Bishop Greg Kelly (Dallas), Bishop Italo Dell’Oro (Galveston-Houston), Bishop Gary Janak (San Antonio) and Mr. Ralph McCloud, Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
[Photos Credit: Alan Pogue]
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