By JESSICA DAUES
Poverty is a way of life in for many inner city residents. But rather than ignore the situation, many are fighting for change.
The Notre Dame community will examine the role of faith and cooperation in urban renewal in a Feb. 13-15 conference "Reconciliation and Renewal in the Cities: Faith-Based Initiatives."
will feature Harvard University's Father Bryan Hehir and Father Virgilio Elizando of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Notre Dame students Angela Anderson and Nikolas Green will also be speaking.
"Faith-based initiatives is a broad term for groups and communities which connect their involvement in social analysis, action and justice in response to challenges such as lack of housing, education, economic development, health care, et cetera," said Father Don McNeill, executive director of the Center for Social Concerns.
The 10 different sessions of speakers will address urban situations where creative leadership and unity impact the local community. "At the conference, students would see a broad spectrum of faith-based initiatives in six different sessions on Monday and Tuesday," said McNeill.
Most presenters are connected with Catholic community leadership in cities including Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, he said.
"Students at the University often do not get the opportunity to hear and directly encounter creative leaders who are impacting communities of need throughout the country," commented McNeill.
McNeill encourages students to attend the events, all free to the general public. "We tried to make it student friendly," he said.
Students look forward to the experience.
"We students all know that our large cities involve poverty and other challenges. I am interested to see what these presenters have done to address these issues with imagination and hope," said Erica Loye, student of urban affairs.
The conference will begin 4 p.m. Sunday with a discussion by Hehir of the Catholic Church in cities. Other highlights include Elizondo, associate director of the University's new Institute for Latino Studies, who will speak 8 p.m. Monday about Latino faith-based initiatives.
"Father Elizondo is a dynamic speaker and an expert on Latino pastoral concerns," McNeill said. "He is also the founder of the MACC, Mexican American Cultural Center, a national center for training and leadership development for those working in Latino communities."
In addition, Notre Dame students Angela Anderson and Nikolas Green will speak about their experiences in faith-based initiatives over the past summer.
"We hope the speakers will spark the students' imaginations and desire to visit faith-based initiatives like these in their community or in experiential learning opportunities provided by the CSC."
The conference is part of the millennial series "Building the Civilization of Love: Imagining the Third Millennium," sponsored by the theology department.
All News Stories for Friday, February 11, 2000