As I write, I’m sitting once again in the Denver airport on layover in route to San Diego for this week’s Bishops’ meeting. I was sitting here just a few days ago on a return trip from St. Paul back to Cheyenne.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to become a board member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.  As I have always had an attraction to the rural way of life, I was eager to accept the invitation.  What came as a surprise was the fact that I also became the President of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

This Conference has been around for along time, in fact, we are preparing to celebrate our 90th Anniversary!  The primary mission of the NCRLC is to promote our Catholic Faith in the rural communities and parishes across the country.  As the rural life is a life lived close to the land, another critical area we focus our attention is on stewardship of the land.

Creation is a great gift of God, entrusted to our care.  NCRLC desires to help our people grow in our relationship with God.  Our efforts assist those in the food and agriculture industry to apply their faith in the ways in which they make their living.  Ranchers and farmers have a tremendous amount of God’s good earth entrusted to their care, and their practices have a great impact on the soil and water.

There are of course other industries that utilize the earth as well, particularly the energy industry.  NCRLC pays close attention to this area of business as well, doing all we can to promote best practices of conserving and preserving all of our natural resources.  At our meeting last week, we had a very informative session on the more recent process known as high pressure fracturing, or ‘fracking’ used to withdraw oil and gas from beneath the earth’s surface.

No doubt, you will be hearing much more from me over the coming years about the work of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.  For now, please keep the work of our Conference in your prayers.  Perhaps you may spend some time as well thinking and praying about your own habits as a consumer of food and energy.  Let’s all be good stewards of the creation of our Creator.  And remember, we all live downstream!