Holy Cross Brother Andrews dies; he had headed Catholic Rural Life

VALATIE, N.Y. (CNS) — A funeral Mass was celebrated January 10 in Valatie for Holy Cross Brother David Andrews, who died January 5.

Brother Andrews, who served for 12 years as executive director of Catholic Rural Life, was 70. He had retired from active ministry in 2014 to attend to health issues. He was receiving kidney dialysis at the time of his death.

Brother Andrews conceived of the “Eating Is a Moral Act” campaign of Catholic Rural Life, which had been known as the National Catholic Rural Life Conference during his tenure. “I think I’ve achieved a lot of the goals I’ve set for myself in the National Catholic Rural Life Conference,” he told CNS in 2007. “The NCRLC got put back on the map, nationally as well as internationally. We have a fully professional staff. We have a good board, with four bishops on it.”

After his time with Catholic Rural Life, he served as a senior representative for Food & Water Watch, which advocates for contaminant-free waterways, food production and distribution systems, until his retirement.

Straddling those two ministries, Brother Andrews served from 2006 to 2010 as coordinator of justice and peace for the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Born March 16, 1944, in Mansfield, the fifth of 10 children, David Grant Andrews attended Msgr. James Coyle High School in Taunton, run by the Holy Cross Brothers. By the end of his junior year, he had decided on his vocation.

Two months after graduating from Coyle, he entered the Holy Cross novitiate in Valatie. He made his first profession of vows in 1963 and his final profession in 1969.

Brother Andrews received a bachelor’s degree in English from Stonehill College in North Easton, in 1967. He earned master’s degrees in teaching English from Rhode Island College in 1975 and in social and systematic theology from Boston College in 1977. He completed pre-law studies at the University of Notre Dame in 1991, and received his law degree from the University of Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, in 1995.

He taught at Catholic high schools in New York and Maryland, 1967 to 1976, before becoming administrator of the St. Joseph Spiritual Life Center at Valatie, 1977 to 1981.

In 1981, Brother Andrews was chosen executive director of the Edward Vincent O’Hara Institute for Rural Ministry. Under his five-year leadership, the institute served as a valuable resource to Catholic Rural Life and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A 2008 study on industrial farming practices that Brother Andrews co-wrote with Tim Kautza, then a science and environmental education specialist with Catholic Rural Life, said, “What began with a pursuit of efficiency to improve production for all farms has unintentionally resulted in a decline in economic freedom for them and an imbalance of economic power favoring dominant firms within the industry, rather than individual producers.” He added: “It is clear that industrialized animal production has adverse impacts on rural communities. The consolidation of the nation’s animal agriculture has led to a more concentrated, industrialized model, which has had dramatic and increasingly problematic impacts on rural communities and the traditional farm.”

He is survived by eight of his siblings.

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