The encyclical God is Love reminds all members of the Notre Dame community that we are all called have a “heart that sees” (31, b) where love is needed and act accordingly to perform Christian works of charity and service to humans around the globe. Recent events at campus, such as the Notre Dame Forum’s focus on the scourge of global poor health caused primarily by poverty and the university’s commitment to work on Millienium Development projects in Uganda, remind us of the vastness of the challenges to the world and our obligation to respond to them.
Combining Pope Benedict’s admonition that the lesson of the Good Samaritan is to show love to all we encounter (25, b) with the knowledge that we increasingly encounter the world through international links of commerce, a group of concerned students, working through the campus chapter of Amnesty International, are working to broaden the campus community’s participation in efforts to alleviate global poverty by promoting the greater consumption of fair trade products on campus. Fair trade is enthusiastically endorsed by both the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services as an effective and easy way for the faithful to demonstrate their charity towards farmers and artisans in the developing world.
As the encyclical reminds us (20) organized charity is a necessary responsibility of the church at all levels. Accordingly, this year we are concentrating on encouraging the university to commit to having food services serve only fair trade coffee on campus as a issue. In October, the student senate passed a resolution calling for this to be campus policy. Currently, we are continuing our campus-wide educational campaign.
(Photo credit: Michelle Frankfurter)