Tonight at dinner a friend of a friend asked me: “How many of you are there?”
He’s a theology graduate student who heard me talking about the cooperative work I do and also my excitement about this Francesco Economy convening on Monday.
“Are there many others talking about Catholic Social Teaching and economics and business?”
His question is valid.
I’ve felt it myself. Haven’t you?
About 9 months ago a cousin forwarded me an email about a small group he had gotten invited to with the subject line: “CST + New Economy”.
In the invite, it talked about a contemplative meditation and then each person would be invited to give a 5 minute TED Talk as a way of introducing themselves. I was ecstatic — these must be my people. I asked my cousin if he could write to the organizer and tell him that I also wanted to join the group.
After my first meeting with that group, I felt compelled to write.
More recently, I’ve realized one of the gifts I can offer is my propensity to act. I’m willing to take risks to just start something. I’m willing to call people together, facilitate a highly interactive space, and see what emerges.
So in November when I accepted to go to Italy for the Francesco Economy event in March 2020 and then I realized there were dozens of events happening all over the world but nothing being organized in the United States. I called Elizabeth and Nathan. They each had been talking about writing something or trying to pull something together.
I told them we had to put a date on the calendar. We just had to set a date. After some significant back and forth we eventually found a date and a time.
Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve gradually begun finding more and more people like me. By shamelessly emailing everybody I know who is Catholic, or who cares about Economic Justice or Catholic Social Teaching or Pope Francis… word has gradually started to spread. We’ve had group calls with 8 people multiple times and gradually a small group of people has similarly spread the word through their networks.
I’m finding that there are many people wrestling with questions of faith, our economy, and what we can do to change things. In fact, I think there are many many more than we think there are.
My hope with this gathering on December 16, and on February 19th and hopefully more throughout 2020 — is that we, collectively might begin to paint the landscape of thinkers and practitioners that feel animated by Pope Francis’ letter.
My hope is that more of us might encounter one another to find inspiration and collaborators.
My hope is that we might come together to collaboratively brainstorm and begin building pathways into a future that is more beautiful than we can imagine.
The stakes are too high. We’re heading into an unlivable future. We know that. We also know that we must be the protagonists of this transformation.
I hope you’ll join us.