During our recent meeting, it was reported that 46 million people (15%) now live in poverty in the United States. This report follows dismal unemployment figures in recent months. For us as bishops, these numbers are not statistics, but people suffering and wounded in their human dignity. They are parents who cannot feed their children, families that have lost their homes and jobless workers who have lost not only income, but also a sense of their place in society. For us, each of these persons is a child of God with innate human dignity and rights that deserve respect. […] We discussed how best to respond to this urgent pastoral challenge. The Administrative Committee wanted something more than a public statement. Instead, they asked me to write to all the bishops and ask you to continue do all you can to lift up the human, moral and spiritual dimensions of the ongoing economic crisis. […] I hope we can use our opportunities as pastors, teachers, and leaders to focus public attention and priority on the scandal of so much poverty and so many without work in our society.