Public is invited to learn and discuss alongside Minnesota bishops

by Joe Ruff - The Catholic Spirit

When Tim Carney, commentary editor of the Washington Examiner, traveled the United States, he found areas facing marked declines in marriage, voting, church attendance and volunteer work.

People appeared to be facing their problems alone, without civic and faith engagement. The research he conducted and the data he collected became a book published this year, titled “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse.”

The book and the issues it raises, with Carney as keynote speaker, will be the focus of Minnesota’s bishops when they gather Sept. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Carondelet Center in St. Paul for their annual Fall Study Day.

The public is invited to attend the discussion, which will include four local panelists offering their thoughts on the fracturing of public life, challenges of building vibrant communities and opportunities for faith communities to address the issues.

“We are delighted to have an outstanding journalist and engaging young Catholic like Tim Carney keynote the Fall Study Day,” said Jason Adkins, Minnesota Catholic Conference executive director. “‘Alienated America’ is one of the most talked about political books of 2019, and we think it has a lot to tell us about reaching those on the social and economic margins, as well as the existential peripheries of our day.”

All seven Minnesota bishops, including Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, along with Adkins and lay and religious MCC committee members will attend the presentation. The conference is the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

The panelists will be Laura Bloomberg, dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota; Charles Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns,based in Brainerd; Deacon Steve Pareja, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud; and Brad Finstad, Minnesota state director of rural development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bishops John Levoir of New Ulm, Michael Hoeppner of Crookston, John Quinn of Winona-Rochester, Paul Sirba of Duluth and Donald Kettler of St. Cloud will join Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens.

The event is free but online registration is required. For more details and to register, visit