IndyCAN E-newsletter, October 2015 issue


Welcome to our Papal Visit special issue!

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September drew the attention of media across the country, and hundreds of thousands of people traveled to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia to hear him speak.

His message — on criminal justice reform and the importance of seeing all people as children of God, created in the same womb and equally loved by our Creator, who cry out in despair, wanting to be seen and loved as Jesus loved all of God’s children — was met with eager ears and humble hearts of all faith traditions.

Perhaps never before have we had such a visible advocate for our work.

Our faith matters. Love matters. Human dignity matters.

We have heard the stories — through our own Season of Encounter events this summer, through our daily work and through the media surrounding the pope’s historic visit — of countless examples of people who are not seen as equal to all of God’s people in our culture.

PICO National Network federations, including IndyCAN, have marked the papal visit as an opportunity to drive home the Pope’s call for an economy that includes everyone — including those who have been marginalized by society: the incarcerated, the poor and our black and brown brothers and sisters.

This special edition of the IndyCAN e-newsletter focuses on the papal visit — and the 40 Days of Faithful Actionsurrounding it. Join IndyCAN clergy and leaders, and faith-based organizations across the United States as we pray, vote and act in response to the pope’s call for inclusion, respect for human dignity and care for the most marginalized of  God’s creation.

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IndyCAN Prays for Inclusion at jail, washes the feet of the incarcerated

On Saturday, Sept. 26,  clergy from diverse faith traditions gathered at the Marion County Jail II, to wash the feet of the inmates and call on the next Mayor and Council invest in Jobs Not Jails. This prayerful act was in solidarity with the pope’s visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, where awoke the consious of our nation; that no life should be thown away.

“Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as somehting normal or to be expected, is a society 'condemned' to remain hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain. I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother to share your situation and make ti my own"--Pop,Pope Francis said during his visit to Curran-Fromhold.

Pope Francis pointed to the need to reform structures that deny people's humanity and offend God's will.  He wants those at the margins to lead as the protagonists of our own liberation.  Together we can reform the Indy’s criminal justice systems, and restore the dignity of the incarcerated; to help them rejoin society; to encourage, and enable their rehabilitation — “a rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community,” he said. 

The prayer kicked-off '40 Days of Faithful Action' where IndyCAN will Pray, Vote, Act on the Pope's message of  inclusion, abundance, and keeping families together. 

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During the PICO Faith in America Summit in Philadelphia, IndyCAN Pastor Richard Willoughby (middle), shares how f Indianapolis' jails tear apart families and how people of faith acted to stop  jail expansion and invest in jobs and treatment. Indianapolis Catholic Archbishop Joseph Tobin and Cardinal Peter Turkson applaud and encourage people of faith to wake up and act for reform. 

IndyCAN delegates and Archbishop Tobin speak with top Pope Francis adviser

While in Philadelphia for the papal visit, nine IndyCAN clergy and leaders joined more than 300 other faith leaders at the PICO National Network’s Faith in America Summit. Together, they made plans to bring the  Pope’s message into action back home.

The summit included prayer events and actions, including a prayerful procession of more than 300 immigrants, low-wage workers and families impacted by mass incarceration through the streets of Philadelphia.

During the PICO Summitt, IndyCAN had an unprecedented opportunity to share our story of how we stopped the multi-million-dollar jail expansion in Marion County with a key adviser to the Pope, His Eminence Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the vatican.

Cardinal Turkson carried the pope’s message:

“Imprisonment is not justice. What is justice? When we respect the demands of the relationship in which we stand and truly see the humanity in everyone,”he said.

Cardinal Turkson reminded those who were gathered that “the first act of Creation was light,” encouraging those who were gathered to return home and use their federations’ organizing energy to be the light in their communities.

The Most Rev. Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Indianapolis, extended the analogy into the opposite scope: Darkness. “Racism Today is not wearing bedsheets or burning crosses.......its not seeing people,” he said. Deliberate darkness, spread by systems that exclude certain groups of people, deny's human dignity and offends God's will. 

IndyCAN will bring the light!

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Below, Julio Reyes and Araceli Martinez hold signs exclaiming that all of us are made in the image of God while participating in a PICO-organized march through the streets of Philadelphia.



Be part of the IndyCAN Prophetic Voter Movement!
Help us get out the vote!

40 Days of Faithful Action is designed to hold elected officials accountable to prioritize Jobs Not Jails, to ensure Indianapolis takes concrete action toward the pope’s call to end the “economy of exclusion” and the systems that spread the darkness.

How? We must get out the vote!

One way to make our voice heard - is voting our values on Election Day.  Join IndyCAN's, 40 Days of Faithful Action, as we talk to 10,000 Prophetic voters on the door, on the phone, and in the pews, encouraging them to stand up for inclusion and human dignity by getting to the polls and voting their values on Nov. 3.

We need you to get out, be face-to-face with individuals who might not otherwise vote, talking about the sin of mass incarceration, the pope’s call for humanity and the importance of making their voices heard through the polls.

Will you join us?

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Plan to attend!
LIVE FREE Town Hall Oct. 15

40 Days of Faithful Action continues with an opportunity for action!

Join people from diverse faith traditions to ACT on Pope Francis' call to end the culture of economic exclusion and begin racial healing — and ask our civic leaders to do the same.

Invited guests include US District Attorney Josh Minkler, Marion County Sheriff John Layton, and candidates for mayor of Indianapolis (Joe Hogsett and Chuck Brewer).

Register to attend — and post a bilingual flyer in your congregation to encourage others to do the same. Together we can End Mass Incarceration and Gun Violence, Create paths to good jobs, and Dignity for Immigrant families!

  • Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015
  • 7 p.m.
  • New Direction Christian Church, 5330 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46218
  • Buses will leave at 6 p.m. sharp from the following locations:
    • Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 1301 N Goodlet (Haughville)
    • New Era Church, 517 W. 30th St. (United North West)


Register to attend

Download a bilingual flyer to promote the LIVE FREE Town Hall

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There is so much more to share!

The papal visit and the events surrounding it form 40 Days of Faithful Action — 40 days of hope, healing, love, inclusion and faith.

As the nation unites around the pope’s call for human dignity, we are thirsting for more encouragement from Pope Francis as we work to awaken the moral consious of our community and act to liberate those on margins of society.

We share the following resources for those who are thirsting for more, thirsting for life, thirsting for hope.


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Thank you!

Thank you for being part of IndyCAN! We can feel a renewed energy for our mission surrounding Pope Francis’ visit, and we are thankful you are standing with us as we recognize everyone as created in the image of God!