1986 Feb 23 – 2nd Sun Lent (Bulletin Letters)

1986 Feb 23 – 2nd Sun Lent  (Bulletin Letters)

February 21, 1986

Dear Friends:


My trip to Iowa City was most rewarding.  Joe Barry asked me to come to the University to share with students about the rural crisis.  Joe and a couple of other students are trying to organize a University Rural Crisis Group on campus.  About 35 people showed up at the Catholic Student Center.  There were students, campus ministers and a few rural folk on hand.  The first 20 minutes Joe gave an overview on how the rural crisis came about and then he shared how the crisis was directly affecting his own family.  It was a moving presentation.  Many of the students there come from farm families themselves and some are experiencing the same hardships as Joe.  It was a great introduction to what I had to share.  I talked about the moral and ethical challenge facing us in the rural crisis.  I drew heavily on the writings of Bishop Dingman.  I then shared the idea of direct non-violent intervention as a needed dimension in the overall rural struggle.  With each passing day we lose more and more family farms, which are not being replaced.  It’s time for more militant action.  We need to start placing our bodies between the farmer and the unjust system that is taking them off their land.



Joann Neusil, a farm wife and rural activist, was at the meeting.  I first met Joann a year ago last January when we tried to stop a forced farm equipment sale in Sigourney, Iowa.  We did everything short of getting arrested in our efforts to stop the sale.  The farm leadership did not feel we were ready to do civil disobedience.  “Now” Joann says, “there are farmers ready to act and risk arrest.”  She asked me if I would help organize them and act with them at their next farm sale.  I said I would.  The John and Diane Lower farm is being sold at the Court House in Marengo, Iowa, March 4th.  I plan to be there and help organize a witness that will include non-violent civil disobedience.  I’m going to Marengo this Wednesday to meet the Lowers, talk to the Sheriff and meet with those willing to risk arrest.  I will keep you posted on the outcome.  Let’s all pray God’s hand is in all of this.


Fr. Frank













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