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Occupy to Mark 1st Anniversary With a 'Convergence' in NYC -- And 'Occupy Catholics' Is Using Faith to Get Christians Involved
Photo Credit: Occupy Catholics

Occupy to Mark 1st Anniversary With a 'Convergence' in NYC -- And 'Occupy Catholics' Is Using Faith to Get Christians Involved

September 17 marks the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, a movement that was once vibrant, but -- just 12 months after it first launched -- is seemingly non-existent. But, that isn't stopping Occupiers from showering praise upon the so-called movement of the 99 percent.

Next weekend, to commemorate this anniversary and to seemingly jolt the movement back into existence, organizers are holding S17, a three-day convergence of sorts to celebrate the movement's "stand against idolatrous greed." A faith arm of the movement -- Occupy Catholics -- is planning to celebrate the anniversary as well, appealing to Catholic tenets to rail against the so-called 1 percent.

So, to help bolster S17's efforts, the religious group is encouraging believers from across the nation to come to New York City to celebrate S17 and to support a "righteous society." In fact, Occupy Catholics is so devoted to the cause that it has setup a "hospitality housing" program. See the S17 trailer, below:

If people want to come and re-Occupy the city, but they don't have a place to stay, Occupy Catholics is prepared to help out. Citing Hebrews 13:2 -- "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels" -- the faith allegiance is helping people find a temporary home during the meet-up this weekend.

So, what can Catholic-motivated Occupiers expect as a result of their participation? To begin, Occupy Catholics is preparing to hold a "Council of Elders" meeting pre-ceding the events on September 12. These so-called "elders," part of a group called National Council of Elders (NCOE), are described by the group as "veterans of past movements" and they will be issuing a pre-S17 "declaration."

Confused? An official description from the Occupy Catholics web site explains:

On Wednesday, September 12, the newly formed National Council of Elders (NCOE) will release the Greensboro Declaration, the first statement of the organization since its founding a month ago.  The NCOE founding conference was held in Greensboro, NC, site of the historic Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, which represented a major advance in the civil rights struggle.

The Declaration will be presented at significant historic sites of struggle and freedom  in Washington, DC, Detroit, MI; and New York. Press conferences will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the areas’ respective time zones. The  NCOE  sees its mission as passing down both its wisdom and missteps to coming  generations , especially to  young people.

A list of participants on the Occupy Catholics' web site shows diversity. From Muslims to Catholics, the rundown of leaders who will be involved is intriguing. Among the names that stick out, though, is Shirley M. Sherrod, the former U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was unfairly fired from her position back in 2010.

So, aside from a relatively secretive declaration -- the details of which will come later this week -- another element that Occupy Catholics will be bringing to the movement is dramatic, theatrical readings of Catholic sermons and writings. An e-mail from the group reads:

For S17, in honor of the Strike Debt campaign at OWS, we are rolling out a new tactic: theatrical readings of sermons and writings against debt from 2,000 years of Catholic tradition. We are working with folks from Strike Debt to bring this tactic into the repertoire of the movement as a whole.

And no faith-related Occupy event would be complete without foot-washing. Occupy Catholics is preparing to wash S17 participants' feet -- a method of engagement the coalition calls "tried-and-true." Catholic adherents will also be offering socks to Occupiers. And the methods of outreach won't end there.

For those who find themselves being "brutalized" by police or imprisoned as a result of their activities associated with the movement, Occupy Catholics is preparing to launch a "jail-support ministry." While information hasn't yet been given regarding what this program would look like, the group encourages its followers to "pray for those in jail and publicize incidents of police brutality" through their networks.

Occupy Catholics will make definitive determinations for S17 on Tuesday, September 11, at the group's next planning meeting.

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