Bishop speaks on behalf of global issues to students

By Michelle Costa
September 27, 2010

A Catholic bishop, renowned for a lifetime of work for peace and justice, praised Cabrini’s unique Justice Matters curriculum during a recent visit to campus.

“I want to congratulate the college on being involved in Catholic social teachings.  It’s truly amazing what you all are doing and learning,” Bishop Thomas Gumbleton said.

Gumbleton worked with various classes on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and spoke of international issues and what students can do to better our troubled society.

Gumbleton, a native of Michigan, is known worldwide for his faith-based humanitarian work.  Being recognized as one the most controversial and outspoken bishops of our time, Gumbleton’s vision is to speak for those without a voice.  His travels span to many troubled countries such as Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala and countless others.

“Participating in the transformation of justice is creating life through the Lord’s gospel,” Gumbleton said.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Gumbleton is the most recognized Catholic activist in the peace movement. He has received honorary doctorates from nine universities, including LaSalle and St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia.

Gumbleton once said his mission was to transform the world into as close an image of the reign of God as possible.

“It’s not, though.  We do not have a world that works like this.  One-fifth of our world is living in absolute poverty,” Gumbleton said.

Gumbleton and another recent Cabrini visitor, Johanna Berrigan, spent much time in Haiti before and after the January earthquake. Most recently in August they shared the harsh conditions and living standards with the Haitian people.  The visit was primarily focused on the establishment of Berrigan’s health care clinic and reaching out to the ill.

“You can’t ignore the poor.  Especially when Haiti is a failed social structural nation,” Gumbleton said.

“When Bishop Gumbleton told us about the Haitian soccer field filled with refugees I was so sad.  But when he explained how they all sang beautiful songs every morning, it made me feel like there was hope,” Emma McNamara, sophomore math and secondary education major, said.

Noticeable progress throughout displacement campus leave activists like Gumbleton content but certainly not satisfied.

“There is always more to do, we need to change things,” Gumbleton said.

Despite the chaos, Gumbelton is amazed at the courage of the Haitian people. “They keep going. No matter how horrible the situation may be, they hold endless spirit,” Gumbleton said.  The Haitians were in enough desperation already. Gumbelton questions day in and day out as to why this has happened to them.

Through the standards of Catholic social teaching, Gumbelton detests war and longs for complete peace. Gumbleton is the founder of the Pax Christi USA organization.

“Bishop Gumbleton’s speech was very interesting.  His stories about Haiti were so heartbreaking.  He really showed us a different side of devastation,” Sarah Luckert, sophomore communication major, said.

Gumbleton encourages students to ask why people are poor, and then actually do something about it.

“We need to move, get up and motivate people,” Gumbleton said.

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Michelle Costa

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