January 2, 2024 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Pictured are (left to right) Kevin Walton, John Coomes, Fr. Anthony Shonis, Bill Londrigan (president), Charlie Hiatt, and Brian Combs at the Dec. 4-6, 2023 Kentucky State AFL-CIO Convention held in Louisville. COURTESY OF FR. ANTHONY SHONIS 

Western Kentucky priest leads opening prayer for Ky. AFL-CIO Convention


Fr. Anthony Shonis, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, offered the opening prayer for the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Convention held in Louisville from Dec. 4-6, 2023. He was followed later that evening by Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, who offered the blessing before the evening banquet.

Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” put the Church squarely on the side of working men and women while at the same time upholding the right of private property.

The Holy Father issued the encyclical at a time when increasing industrialization was widening the gap between rich and poor. The encyclical went on to say that “organizing a union is natural right of man.” This same sentiment was echoed by the American bishops in their 1986 pastoral letter “Economic Justice for All.”

The following is copy of Fr. Shonis’ opening prayer.

Dear God,

The Long Dark Night is slowly coming to an end

And we see the first streaks of a new dawn

A dawn of a rejuvenated democracy.

A democracy that we no longer take for granted

A democracy that was purchased for us by the struggles of working men and women.

And we pray for a full economic democracy where working men and women will participate in the decisions that affect their lives and families

… a family-sustainable wage, safety on the job, health insurance and pension benefits.

We remember all workers: blue collar, white collar union, non-union, employed and unemployed.

But especially we remember the men and women who serve in our armed forces

For they too are workers.

May all our union brothers and sisters and all workers who have died on the job rest in peace.


Originally printed in the January 2024 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
Send change of address requests to [email protected]