Ione Duff doesn’t consider herself a political person, but a commitment she’s made to put her faith into action compelled her to join 1,000 other Catholics from across Minnesota in St. Paul for the first-ever Catholics at the Capitol.
“I need to make a stand, but I’m not political, and the idea of it scares me,” said Duff, 54, a parishioner of St. Paul in Ham Lake.
She took the day off of work from her job with the Minnesota Department of Revenue to attend the education and advocacy event. She hoped to become better informed about public policy issues and how to articulate her stance.
She realized, however, that the day was about more than finding the right words.
“Just being here says something to people. Just being at the Capitol as a group of Catholics says something to people,” she said.
She was among Catholics who crowded into a RiverCentre conference room for an 8 a.m. Mass concelebrated by the state’s bishops. The liturgy kicked off a morning program of speakers and advocacy training before participants headed to the State Capitol to meet with lawmakers. Organized by Minnesota Catholic Conference, the event aimed to more deeply engage Catholics in the public arena through education about important issues and tools to help them advocate effectively.