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‘Catholics and Coal’ panel to discuss Catholic response to coal mining in US and Philippines

Event set for Jan. 26 at DePaul University

catholics and coal
A panel discussion, "Catholics and Coal," will be held Jan. 26 in the Student Center on the Lincoln Park Campus. (Left, photo by Jocelyn Carlson. Right, photo courtesy of the Rev. Edwin Gariguez)
CHICAGO – The Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology at DePaul University will host “Catholics and Coal,” a panel discussion that looks at the Catholic response to environmental and human injustices resulting from coal mining in the U.S. and the Philippines.

Panelists Michael Iafrate and the Rev. Edwin Gariguez will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Student Center, Room 314B, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. A 6 p.m. reception opens the event.

Iafrate and Gariguez bring diverse backgrounds and experience in advocating for environmental preservation.

A doctoral candidate in theology at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, Iafrate hails from West Virginia and is co-coordinator of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. He is the lead author of “The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us,” a publication that looks into Appalachia’s poverty and social injustices. His writing has appeared in National Catholic Reporter and Religion Dispatches and in the edited collections “Secular Music and Sacred Theology” and Music, Theology & Justice. In addition to writing, Iafrate is a singer and songwriter.

A native of the Philippines, Gariguez is pastor of the Mangyan Mission Catholic Church on Mindoro Island and serves as executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action/Caritas Philippines. He was the recipient of the 2012 international Goldman Environmental Prize for his work in leading a grassroots movement against an illegal mine on Mindoro. Gariguez is the co-founder of the Alliance Against Mining, which united thousands of Mindoro’s indigenous peoples, farmers, and local and provincial political leaders. In 2009, he led an 11-day hunger strike that resulted in an investigation that brought to a stop the illegal mining operations underway by the transnational corporation Intex.

The Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology was founded at DePaul University in 2008 to produce research that will serve the church and the academy. To fulfill this mission, the center has paid special attention to the world church that has emerged since the Second Vatican Council and its growth in Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the focus has been on the present global communion of faith, the center also attends to historical, theological and cultural questions that will contribute to a fuller understanding of Catholicism and the dialogue of cultures today. More information is available at or by calling 773-325-4158.


Media Contact:
Russell Dorn