CRS Speaker Tells Story of Hope at DeSales

DeSales University recently hosted Thomas Awiapo, a Catholic Relief Services employee and native of Ghana. Awiapo came to DeSales to share his story of hope and the power of CRS. Awiapo’s life was changed 40 years ago when CRS built a school near his village in Ghana. Growing up, his childhood was characterized by his continual hunger and the village he lived in had no access to running water and often times he would cry and fight for food. In addition to a lack of food, Awaipo’s parents died when he was a child leaving him and his three brothers as orphans.

Awiapo credits one single snack he received as a child as saving his life. When he entered the CRS school on the first day, they provided all the students with a snack to start their day and did this every day following. This was thanks to the CRS Rice Bowl Program. Because of his schooling with CRS, Awiapo found “food, education, faith and later earned his master’s degree in the United States.” Currently Awiapo is working to open a new school for children experiencing the same things he did. Awiapo notes that “Catholic Relief Services is a gospel of love, a gospel of justice, and a gospel of hope around the world. Assembling this box every Lent, we are actually assembling many, many broken lives around the world.”

To read more about Awiapo’s story, visit DeSales news.

Mount Mercy University Hosts Former Gang Member Turned Doctoral Student

Mount Mercy University recently hosted a former gang member turned doctoral student to share his story of overcoming obstacles to ultimately earning his PhD. Jason Sole was a former drug dealer, street gang member, and three-time convicted felon that was raised in Chicago. Sole turned to a gang early on his life in order to feel authority and financial stability that he could not find elsewhere. As a result of this, Sole was incarcerated several times over the course of his life. There came a point when Sole recognized he needed to make changes in his life, this is when he turned to education and earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees in criminal justice and is currently completing his dissertation to complete his doctorate in public safety.

Mount Mercy students noted that “they felt compelled to bring Jason to campus because of everything that has been going on in the country, and what has happened in the past and what continues to happen. It is not often that those in the black community are given a second chance at life once placed in the criminal justice system. Jason is a living testimony of that.”

To read more of this event, visit Mount Mercy news.

Peace and Justice in ACCU’s Summer Newsletter

ACCU recently released the summer edition of Update, our quarterly newsletter. Read Update in full here. Peace and Justice highlights include:

  • ACCU President’s Letter: Celebrating 50 years of Populorum Progressio
  • Rivier Students Participate in Day of Service: In April, Rivier University held its fifth annual First-Year Student Day of Service, contributing hundreds of service hours to Greater Nashua, New Hampshire non-profit organizations.
  • Mount Marty Students Volunteer at Rosebud Indian Reservation: Eighteen students from Mount Marty College recently participated in an annual service opportunity that sends nursing students and non-nursing majors to the Rosebud Indian Reservation to work with Tree of Life Ministry in Mission, South Dakota.
  • Newman Students Focus Art on Syrian Conflict: The atrium in Newman University’s Dugan Library was home to a student-created art exhibit in April, with art designed to depict the conflict in Syria.
  • Emmanuel Students Raise Funds for Children’s Hospital: The sixth annual Emmanuel College Dance Marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital set a new fundraising record this year.
  • Benedictine Holds Social Justice Teach-In: This spring Benedictine University held an all-day “Teach-In on Social Justice and Race” to promote greater understanding of people and issues affecting local communities.
  • Aquinas Awarded Early Childhood Ed. Grant: Aquinas College in Michigan has been awarded a $900,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to address the shortage of qualified teachers of color available to lead local early childhood education classrooms.

To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

Ignatian Solidarity Network Awards Loyola Chicago President and Chancellor

Earlier this month, the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) announced its decision to grant the Robert M. Holstein ‘Faith Doing Justice’ Award to Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J. for his outstanding service to the marginalized, care for creation, and advocacy for social justice.

For 14 years, Fr. Garanzini served as the 23rd president of Loyola University Chicago (LUC), and he is now serving as University Chancellor. Instrumental in making LUC one of the most sustainable campuses in the country, Fr. Garanzini is deeply committed to care for creation. Fr. Garanzini was among those who took the initiative to establish Arrupe College,  a two-year associate’s degree program for motivated students with limited financial resources, housed at LUC.  Fr. Garanzini is also a leader in Catholic higher education, previously serving as ACCU Board Chair.

To honor Fr. Garanzini, ISN will host a cocktail reception at LUC’s Water Tower campus in Chicago on Wednesday, April 27. Congratulations, Fr. Garanzini!