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Vegan and Religion

A Vegan Journey for Love: Interview with the Reverend Father Donatello Iocco (vegan), Part 1 of 2

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Each of us has our own spiritual awakening experience, and for the reverend Father Donatello Iocco, pastor of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, it was in 2016, when he watched the documentary film “Vegucated.” “And what really tugged my heartstrings was when a mother cow, the calf was taken away from the mother cow, and she was crying after it. And she was doing all she could to chase the calf. That broke my heart. And really, it was almost like a conversion.”

“So, in the beginning, I would have this kind of urgency of having statistics in terms ofwhat's happening to our oceans, what's happening in slaughterhouses, what's happening to your health. So I was bringing that a lot more so than kind of linking it to the scripture. And then I tended to focus more on like, the original, of what Jesus taught. And again, it's love, compassion, and being kind and gentle, that self-giving and helping one another. We're here together. We want to work as one. I'm hoping, you know, leading by example, because everybody knows that I am vegan. So, whatever I'm saying, it's always in the background of what I'm saying, would make a connection.”

“So, there is that essence of early Christianity leading not only a spiritual life, which is part and parcel of not contributing and eating meat. There is certain evidence that helped me kind of refocus and say: Yes, this is something that Jesus was Himself.”

“And so, I think that's a great tension. But I think if you're open to it, and you're willing to seek and find, you'll see that life-giving spirit of the Holy Spirit is pure and giving, and loving, so much so that it wouldn't have any room for our own personal wants or desires of something that we can eat otherwise, that is healthy, and you're not contributing to the destruction of the Earth and the violence that entails it.”

“I'll be honest, it is prayer, it's meditation, connecting to the Divine, experiencing God, which gives us that resource and that reassurance that yes, there is cruelty in the world, yes, there is violence. And yet, how we navigate into that world, sometimes, where we want to be more loving and forgiving.”
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