The ‘Catholic labor priest’?

Tom Gallagher  |  Aug. 22, 2012 NCR Today

A relic of a bygone era, the Catholic labor priest, appears to be making something of a comeback.

According to the Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco:

“We’re not coming at this out of thin air,” said Father Richard Vega, the outgoing president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils in Chicago, helping to form a group of priests advocating for workers. “We are talking about what our principles have always been. From Leo XIII to Benedict XVI there is a consistency. There is no break.” Read more

‘Labor priests’ being trained to help immigrant, low-wage workers

LABOR-PRIESTS Jul-6-2012 (1,070 words) With photo. xxxn

‘Labor priests’ being trained to help immigrant, low-wage workers

Father J. Cletus Kiley, a priest from the Archdiocese of Chicago, is pictured in the lobby of the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington July 5. The priest is director of immigration policy for UNITE HERE, a union for hotel, restaurant and textile workers. Father Kiley also serves on the AFL-CIO immigration committee. (CNS/Bob Roller)

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The concept of “labor priest,” epitomized by Msgr. John Egan and Msgr. George Higgins in the 20th century, has been given a new twist to meet the realities of the 21st century.

The priests — more than two dozen of them, and all working with the approval of their diocesan bishops — are being recruited to help immigrant and low-wage workers.

The clerics met in Chicago in June with a number of mentors, speakers and labor leaders to hone their focus and to give them tools for the work ahead. Read more

A new generation of labor priests

A new generation of labor priests

Aug. 31, 2012 By Brian Roewe

Fr. Ty Hullinger (left) listens to fellow priests May 22 during the first Priest Laborer Social Justice Continuing Formation meeting in Chicago. (NCR photo/Brian Roewe)

On July 23, housekeepers and other workers at Hyatt Hotels began a global boycott of the hotel chain. Citing unjust hiring practices, unfair wages and unsafe working conditions, the workers have marched, picketed and petitioned organizers and travelers to join them. At many of these demonstrations, standing by the workers’ sides were Catholic priests.

In Washington, it was Fr. Clete Kiley, director of immigration policy at UNITE HERE, the union representing Hyatt workers. In Baltimore, it was Fr. Ty Hullinger and Fr. Patrick Besel.

UNITE HERE workers protest outside of the Park Hyatt Hotel in downtown Chicago in 2009. (EPA/Kamil Krzaczynski)The priests aligned with the Hyatt workers and other industry workers represent a new generation of labor priests — pastors who preach not only for a just working environment for their parishioners, but stand beside them in their struggle. Read more