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Living Faith Today

Rafael Duran

Rafael Duran is the co-founder of an organization that champions justice for restaurant workers. As a teenager he came to New York from Mexico to help his widowed mother. She was working 16 hours a day at a clothing factory to support him and his two younger sisters. He helped out by taking jobs as a dishwasher and cook. Through this experience he became frustrated with the plight of restaurant workers who were suffering because of low wages and poor working conditions.

After the September 11th terrorist attacks, he was teaching at the GED center. He had learned English and received his GED there. In the same building, displaced workers from area restaurants were meeting to form a group. He felt compelled to join then. The committee collected data on wages, benefits and career advancement opportunities.

They knew that restaurant workers didn't get the minimum wage. They often had to work unpaid overtime. People of color were usually relegated to the lower-paying back-of-the-house jobs, like runner, busboy and dishwasher. They got actual numbers to prove it. After a full year of pressuring the State legislature, the committee's effort resulted in the passage of a bill. The bill raised the minimum wage for hourly workers whose wages were dependent on tips. His voice and the committee's voice were heard.

Rafael credits the example of his mother and his Catholic faith with helping him sustain his vision of a more just life. In his words: "They are the basis for me becoming the person I am now. Faith gives me the strength to do more."

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Catholic-Parent Know How

An easy-to-use, practical guide helps parents be informed and engaged in the faith formation of their child.

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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: People of Faith Cards

Children encounter models of our Catholic faith through these beautifully illustrated People of Faith cards. Contains a prayer and brief biography on the back of each card.

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