Pope Meets West/Southwest IAF Leaders Building 'Culture of Solidarity'


When Pope Francis told a group of U.S. community organizers that their work was "atomic," Jorge Montiel said, "I thought, 'Oh, you mean we blow things up?'"

But instead, the pope spoke about how the groups associated with the West/Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation in the United States take issues patiently, "atom by atom," and end up building something that "penetrates" and changes entire communities, said Montiel, an IAF organizer in Colorado and New Mexico.

Pope Francis' hourlong meeting Sept. 14 with 15 delegates from the group was a follow-up to a similar meeting a year ago. Neither meeting was listed on the pope's official schedule and, the delegates said, both were conversations, not "audiences."

"It was relaxed, it was engaging," said Joe Rubio, national co-director of IAF.  "Often you don't see that even with parish priests," he told Catholic News Service Sept. 15, garnering the laughter of other delegates.

Pope Meets US Leaders Patiently Building Culture of SolidarityUS Conference of Catholic Bishops / Catholic News Service [pdf]

San Antonio's COPS/Metro Met with Pope FrancisCatholic Television of San Antonio [video]

Pope Francis Meets Colorado Catholic and Other US Leaders Patiently Building 'Culture of Solidarity,Denver Catholic [pdf]

Pope Francis Gives 'Big Thumbs Up' to Together Louisiana Solar Program at VaticanThe Advocate  [pdf]

Pope Meets US Community Leaders Building 'Culture of Solidarity'Angelus News [pdf]

Ayala: 'Like Talking to a Friend' -- San Antonio Activists Inspired by Meeting with Pope FrancisSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]