Fostering Conversations

Accompaniment and the service that arises from it, leads us to recognize the need for advocacy, change and growth. 

Responding the ways that people around the world live and imagine Catholicism in a rich diversity of ways, the College of the Holy Cross launched Catholics and Cultures, a digital humanities project that chronicles the role of Catholicism among the people and within the cultures where it is lived. The Catholics and Cultures project is an initiative of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, SJ, Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, and the website is the centerpiece of the initiative, serving as a depiction of the global Church today for an international and interreligious audience. 

Canisius College was one of a select group of private four-year colleges and universities in the nation to receive a grant from the Lilly Endowment. The $583,000 grant will establish the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute at the college, encouraging young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to service.

The 2015-16 theater program at Fordham University, titled “A Season at the Mountaintop,” explored racism and the abuse of power, opening with Kia Corthron’s Force Continuum in the fall of 2015 and continuing with several other productions throughout the year. Theatre program director Matthew Maguire said the unrest in Ferguson last year in the aftermath of the shooting death of Brown personally affected him, as his family hails from St. Louis. In workshops with students last year, the themes of inequality kept surfacing, so when it came time to pick four plays, Maguire decided to expand the conversation. 


In response to the call of Pope Francis is Laudato Si to take greater care for creation, a team of faculty from Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, created the Ignatian Carbon Challenge, a series of monthly challenges for individuals and high school communities to address climate change and environmental justice issues. More than 30 high schools across the U.S. and around the world are taking part in this year-long program, including five Jesuit schools from the Northeast: B.C. High School, Cheverus High School, Fairfield Prep, Loyola School and McQuaid Jesuit.

To honor the legacy of Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ, who passed away at age 94 on April 30, 2016, the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces established the Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ, Jesuit Peacemaking Fund. The fund has supported Jesuits and colleagues in the eastern U.S. working to bring peace to their communities, to encourage dialogue on contentious social issues and to help with organizing research, training, and in-person advocacy for issues related to peace. 


Xavier High School in Chuuk, Micronesia, held its first campus-wide “Earth Week” in February 2016. Students and staff were inspired by a visit from Fr. Pedro Walpole, SJ, coordinator of the Jesuits’ “Reconciliation with Creation” apostolic priority. Father Walpole guided them through a week of reflections, projects and readings, along with a pilgrimage into the nearby village of Sapuk to learn about topics like the ocean, plant life and ecosystems. 

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