On the first anniversary of their joint statement on the rural crisis, Fargo Bishop James Sullivan and Bismarck Bishop Paul Zipfel issued the following joint call for support and prayers of thanksgiving for the state’s family farmers and ranchers.

Giving Thanks Through Action: One Year Later

One year ago, as we approached the Thanksgiving holiday, the condition of rural life in North Dakota moved us to offer words of guidance, hope, and gratitude. The statement, Giving Thanks Through Action, set forth principles for a just agricultural system, suggestions for action, and challenges for the Church.

One year later, our rural communities still suffer. In some respects, the response to these challenges has been commendable. Communities, families, and our charitable institutions have often acted so that no one would have to bear these difficult times alone. In other respects, much work remains. The fundamental policies that contributed to this crisis remain unchanged. Merely surviving is not enough. We must address the root causes of this crisis by creating a just agricultural system that respects the dignity of family farmers and ranchers and their role as stewards of creation.

As we approach another Thanksgiving, we call attention to our statement of one year ago. The principles and suggestions contained in it still apply. We call upon Catholics, fellow Christians, and all persons of good will to offer their active support and prayers of thanksgiving for our ranchers and farmers.

May God bless all North Dakotans during these difficult times and instill a sense of hope rooted in the risen Christ.

November 16, 1999
James S. Sullivan Paul A. Zipfel
Bishop of Fargo Bishop of Bismarck