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 http://las.depaul.edu/cwcit or by calling 773-325-4158.