FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference announced today that the organization has published a history book commemorating its 40 years of advocacy and service to the residents of Michigan. A Vision, A Voice, A Presence: A History of the First Forty Years of the Michigan Catholic Conference is written by Sister Maxine Kollasch, I.H.M., a corporate writer with extensive experience in Catholic health care, and chronicles the past four decades of the Conference’s service in the areas of public policy, finance and service programs operations.
“This newly published history captures the essence of the Michigan Catholic Conference—an advocacy organization rooted in the Beatitudes dedicated to engaging the culture on behalf of the most vulnerable and those without a voice,” said Sister Monica Kostielney, R.S.M., Michigan Catholic Conference President and Chief Executive Officer.
Beginning with a foreword by Michigan Catholic Conference Chairman of the Board His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida, followed by a preface from Sr. Kostielney and an introduction by Sr. Kollasch, A Vision, A Voice, A Presence records the Conference’s activity from its founding in 1963 until the organization celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2003. The chapters of the book are broken down into decades, with each providing a synopsis of the Conference’s work throughout those years in its three divisions. Included in each chapter are vignettes composed by many friends and collaborators of the Conference.
Said Sr. Kollasch, “the book describes the evolution of the Michigan Catholic Conference as it seeks to proclaim the gospel in a world of increasing moral complexity.”
Appealing to a vast audience, A Vision, A Voice, A Presence takes its reader on a literary journey down the memory lane of social questions that have encountered the state over the past forty years. Paralleling the Conference’s inception with the Second Vatican Council’s call for the laity to engage society, the history begins by recalling the Michigan Catholic Conference’s statement urging civil rights legislation prior to the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The book continues on to chronicle other issues tackled by the Conference: fair housing, education, migrant training, welfare reform, the elimination of sales and use tax on food and prescription drugs, and abortion. As the 3rd millennium approached, the book addresses the advancements made by the Finance and Services Divisions, and evokes the more contentious and emerging social issues faced by the Public Policy Division: capital punishment, assisted suicide, partial-birth abortion, stem cell research, religious freedom and marriage and divorce laws.
A Vision, A Voice, A Presence moves toward its end with an epilogue, with the reader then provided numerous color photographs of the interior and exterior of the Michigan Catholic Conference’s location. Adorning the cover of the book and greeting the reader is a bas-relief wood carving of the seven principles of Catholic social teaching, which hangs in the first floor lobby of the Conference. Wrapping the front and back interior of the book are the Beatitudes—an encapsulating reminder of the Conference’s mission to serve the people of Michigan.
A Vision, A Voice, A Presence: A History of the First Forty Years of the Michigan Catholic Conference will be celebrated in late October with a gathering of the Michigan Political Historical Society. The book will be available at Catholic bookstores across the state or by contacting the Conference at (800) 395-5565.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
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