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Vatican-Sponsored Event Draws World Faith Leaders To Modesto

Feb 17, 2017

Faith leaders from all over the world have traveled to Modesto this week for a meeting dedicated to social justice. FM89’s Kerry Klein says it’s the first event of its kind in the U.S.

It’s called the World Meeting of Popular Movements, and it’s convened by The Vatican--though Pope Francis won’t be making an appearance. The meeting is a chance for faith leaders and advocates to discuss migration, workers’ rights and housing, and the environment. 

"We believe that by bringing people of faith and grassroots leaders together in dialogue, we will be able to take steps forward for racial, economic and social justice," says Thomas Weiler, lead organizer for Faith In Fresno.

The three previous world meetings were held in Rome and Bolivia. Weiler says this year’s San Joaquin Valley location was intentional.

"We are the epicenter of so many forces of exclusion--in terms of the impact of the economy, that leaves so many people behind, and the impact of immigration issues on families, now more than ever," says Weiler. "We are also the epicenter of the mass incarceration system."

The four-day meeting ends Sunday afternoon. Attendance is by invitation only, but events can be live streamed online.