Catholic

How Should Christians Think About the Environment? A Reflection On Laudato Si' With Omar Guitiérrez

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As Catholics and Christians, how are we to think about and care for the environment? On April 6, 2016, Omar Gutierrez addressed this question as he meditated on the themes of Pope Francis' latest encyclical, Laudato Si'. 

You can watch his excellent talk, "Praise Be to You, My Lord: How Christians Should Think about the Environment" below.

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Omar Gutierrez color vertical.jpg

Omar F. A. Gutiérrez has worked for the Church since 2001. Currently, he is the Special Assistant to the Archbishop of Omaha, George J. Lucas, and the Manager of the Office of Missions & Justice handling international missionary efforts and their funding, grants for charitable works, poverty-reduction programs, as well as formation in Catholic Social Teaching within the archdiocese.

A graduate of Franciscan University of Stuebenville with a BA in Theology, Omar then studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum) and completed his MA in Theology from the University of Dallas. His Master’s thesis applied John Henry Cardinal Newman’s marks of authentic development of doctrine to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty.

Omar is a sought-after speaker on the social teaching. He has a weekly program through DiscerningHearts.com which is aired on Nebraska’s Spirit Catholic Radio entitled “Regnum Novum: The New Evangelization through Catholic Social Teaching,” and he is a regular guest on various other programming for the radio station.

Omar has been published in a number of print and online magazines and newspapers including The Catholic Answer, the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, CatholicVote.com, HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum and he has a regular column, “Charity in Truth”, in the Archdiocese of Omaha’s paper The Catholic Voice. His first book, The Urging of Christ’s Love: The Saints and the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church was release in October of 2013. Omar’s writings can be accessed through his website omargutierrez.com.

Most importantly, Omar is happily married to his wife Miriam, and they are very blessed by their four children. His hobbies include watching Cleveland Indians baseball and lamenting the same.

Event Co-Sponsored by the Religion Department, Environmental Studies Program, Geological and Environmental Sciences, the Corpus Christi Foundation, and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

Desire of the Everlasting Hills: Movie Screening and Talkback with David Michael Phelps

Desire of the Everlasting Hills: Movie Screening and Talkback with David Michael Phelps

Everyone is invited to a screening of the powerful film, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, an intimate portrait of three Catholics who try to navigate the waters of self-understanding, faith, and homosexuality. This event is part of our series, "Gay and Christian: The Conversation Continues."

Gay and Christian: Exploring Vocation, Friendship, and Celibacy

Gay and Christian: Exploring Vocation, Friendship, and Celibacy

The Saint Benedict Forum is pleased to host an ecumenical symposium, "Gay and Christian: Exploring Friendship, Vocation, and Celibacy." Eve Tushnet, Wesley Hill, and Joshua Gonnerman will all be speaking at this timely event. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Have a Heart: Dr. Anthony Esolen on the Value of a Christian Liberal Arts Education (VIDEO)

Have a Heart: Dr. Anthony Esolen on the Value of a Christian Liberal Arts  Education (VIDEO)

Dr. Anthony Esolen of Providence College lectured on “Liberal Arts and the Christian College in a Post-Christian World.” Dr. Esolen spoke of the rare and precious gift that only a Christian liberal arts college can bestow - an education with a heart.

Dawn Eden Gives Hope to the Hurting (VIDEO)

Dawn Eden Gives Hope to the Hurting (VIDEO)

On September 16, author and popular speaker, Dawn Eden, gave two talks on the campus of Hope College: "How Jesus’ Sacred Heart Healed My Memories" and "Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On"

Immersion Trip 2015: Franciscans of the Eucharist

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By Daniel Karlovich, Hope College '15, Engineering Major

During Spring Break this year I was blessed to go on the Hope College Immersion trip sponsored by the Saint Benedict Forum to Chicago. With 10 other Hope students and two adult mentors from St. Francis de Sales Parish in Holland, Michigan I lived and worked at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels alongside members of the religious order Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago. It was a powerful and blessed experience for us all.

A View of the Hope Students from Chicago's Famous "Bean"
A View of the Hope Students from Chicago's Famous "Bean"

During the course of the week we learned to live simply like the Franciscans. A significant part of the trip was spent doing simple tasks such as cooking and cleaning. We quickly learned from the sisters that even such “boring” chores take on great meaning when done with joy and love for Christ.

We also ventured into the community in which we were living. Inside one of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods in Chicago, we spent a few hours every day at the local YMCA with the children in their after school programs. Helping teach a junior class at the local high school, a school with a 67% dropout rate, was particularly powerful for many of us. We also visited a Catholic school, Cristo Rey, and learned about all the wonderful work they are doing to help underprivileged children get a good high school and college education.

All these great things were secondary to what the trip was mainly about. The trip was about self-reflection, learning what it means to live as a Christian in a broken world. It was here that the trip made a lasting impression on me.

I don’t think this trip was easy for anyone. We all were blessed by our experiences, but it wasn’t comfortable. It was a week of both great joy and great sorrow. Joy seemed to just flow from the sisters and it influenced our whole week in our work and in our relationships with each other and the people we met. What a contrast to the pervasive sorrow caused by the poverty and violence that was so prevalent and normal in the neighborhood and in the lives of those we met. Living for a week in an area of so much violence and poverty made all of us ask questions of ourselves and of God that we perhaps had never asked before.

What were these questions? We questioned what purpose was there to come into these people’s lives for a week and then leave. How could we change anything in so short a time against such overwhelming odds? We also questioned ourselves, where are we in our own spiritual journeys? Where is God in our lives?

Some of these questions are easy to answer. Immersion trips are aptly named because we really do not go to help others. We cannot change anything in a week. We go to learn about ourselves and to deepen our own understanding and love of God. In this aspect, this trip succeeded. Some of us left hopeful despite all the struggles. Others left frustrated. It wasn’t the frustration that comes from failure, but the frustration of struggling with a hard question that taxes us spiritually and mentally, but which always leaves us better for the struggle.

For me, being in the midst of so much violence and poverty left me feeling more hopeful than I have in a while. Despite the conditions of the neighborhood, I found so much good there. All the residents we met were loving and welcoming. The kids were a constant joy to be around. The YMCA employees worked tirelessly to get the kids off the streets, to do their homework and have a hot meal. And, of course, there are the sisters who are respected and loved within the community, doing everything with so much abundant joy and love for God. I realized that despite the evil in the world there are so many people who go about their lives humbly and lovingly in the midst of suffering, helping those in poverty both spiritually and physically.

It is always good when facing hard questions to draw on the wisdom of other godly people. In the car ride home one of the girls, like the rest of us still struggling to come to terms with all we had experienced, read a reflection on St. Veronica. The message was clear, “sometimes all we can do is wipe the sweat from someone’s brow as they suffer” (Kerry Weber, Mercy in the City).

Before the trip we may have said we went to help the poor, but we are wiser now. Like St. Veronica, the best we could do was to wipe the sweat from those in pain as an act of love. The real change came in our own hearts.