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Helping Clergy Protect Workers' Rights

In our Archdiocese, a group of eight priests who have been active in labor issues, along with lay leaders, have formed a committee to help equip clergy to respond to labor issues in the context of Catholic social teaching. The committee focuses on issues that affect our parishioners in the Archdiocese of Portland, such as minimum wage laws, wage theft and the right of workers to organize. These “labor priests” and lay leaders have created parish resources on these issues, and lead continuing education sessions for clergy and the faithful. They also participate in the planning of the annual Faith-Labor Breakfast, and our committee priests will soon begin regularly speaking at Vicariate meetings to help ensure that clergy have the tools to respond to Catholic teaching on work.  At our Archdiocese’s October Clergy Convocation, the committee priests will share the Church’s teaching on labor and the ways in which the dignity of workers is violated in our communities. Some of our priests have mediated between employers and employees; our team of priests is available to act as mediators to help our parishes and fellow clergy.