Rural Life Ministries provides pastoral outreach to rural persons and works to empower the wider church and community to promote and advocate for justice in agriculture, land, the environment, food and other rural concerns. The advancement of Catholic Social Teachings in these areas is also accomplished through workshops, presentations and parish mission opportunities. The office also provides worship resources and events appropriate to all those related in the food system. Networking and participation on state and national boards and coalitions addressing social justice and parish life related to rural communities is integral to this ministry, especially with other diocesan offices, the Ohio Catholic Rural Life Conference and the National Catholic Rural Life ConferenceEducation and Advocacy
Rural Life Education and Advocacy provides families in the rural communities with information about critical issues facing our rural families and parishes today. Acting as an advocate for the farm communities and their livelihood, these programs honor the rich history of our rural families while enabling the future generations to cope with inevitable change. From legal farm issues to hunger to better use of crops and land, Catholic Charities is making a difference to keep our farming communities prepared for the future.
Catholic Charities promotes environmental justice for the fair treatment of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to environmental laws, regulations, and policies. The support is with the hope that all communities will enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Project Farm Hands
Through exciting school programs, Project Farm Hands educates children about our food system and the realities of hunger. Children learn how food is grown, produced, and distributed while engaged with helping feed the poor. The Steer Project encourages schools and organizations to purchase steers or hogs from area farmers and donate the meat to local food kitchens. Grow a Row for the Hungry encourages gardeners of all kinds to plant extra vegetables and donate them to local food kitchens and pantries that provide food to those in need.
WormWorks project began in 1997. Through a grant from the USCCB, children keep wormboxes in their classroom. Feeding the worms appropriate food and paper wastes, student learn conservation, math, and science skills. Their efforts become a hunger fighting program when they plant vegetable seeds with the vermicompost from their boxes and turn the emerging seedlings and plants over to the ToledoGROWs program of the Toledo Botanical Gardens. ToledoGROWs, initially developed by the Rural Life Office of Catholic Charities, oversees 48 gardens in the Central City of Toledo where adults and children grow their own food and supplement their meals with fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Educators find the hands-on workshop Eating Pizza can be an Act of Justice popular with older students. This program instructs on social justice issues surrounding food production and distribution while the students prepare, cook, and eat the pizzas.
For more information on incorporating social justice issues into the classroom,contact
Century Farm Awards
The Diocese of Toledo takes great pleasure in publicly acknowledging the contributions of the farming and rural community to our diocese. Two means of recognition are through Rural Life Day and Century Farm Awards. Rural Life Day is celebrated annually. The Rural Life Advisory Board travels with the director to different parishes throughout the diocese. The celebration usually involves Sunday liturgy with the host parish, a pot luck meal and fellowship. In the past these celebrations included auctions for the development of the Sts. Isidore and Maria Shrine and for a parish mission in Belize. The sites alternate between rural parishes in the eastern and western parts of the diocese.
Since 1988, the Century Farm Award identifies those who have maintained the farm in the same family for over 100 years. To date 180 Century Farm Awards have been given to Catholic families registered with the Rural Life Office. Century Farm certificates are presented to every new registrant who contacts the Rural Life Office with appropriate data. Plaques are presented annually to the oldest farm in each deanery from the list of registrants and are presented during the annual Rural Life Day in early spring. Watch this page for information on date and site for Rural Life Day.
For more information about registering for Century Farm Awards contact Michelle Stephens at 419-244-6711, ext. 214.