external arrow pointing right logo mark logo full version logo in single color arrow pointing down \ facebook logo instagram logo twitter logo flicker logo search icon navigation expand button close

Thinker calls for ‘new imagination’ on migration

Posted by | Catholic Charities Communications

One of the world’s foremost religious thinkers on migration will speak in Portland in June.

The Rev. Daniel Groody’s latest book, “A Theology of Migration: The Bodies of Refugees and the Body of Christ,” includes a foreword from Pope Francis.

In a talk organized by Catholic Charities of Oregon, Rev. Groody will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, in Brian Doyle Auditorium at the University of Portland. Catholic Charities is one of Oregon’s lead agencies in resettling refugees and helping migrants navigate the provisions made for them in U.S. law.

A professor and administrator at the University of Notre Dame, Rev. Groody has for decades traveled worldwide, met with migrants and deeply plumbed what migration means for life, society and faith.

“Jesus became the prototype migrant,” Rev. Groody said last year in an interview with Orbis Books.

The priest not only examines the many instances of displacement and migration in Scripture — including the holy family — but reminds readers that Jesus made a migration from divinity to humanity. Also, Jesus came to reconcile humanity, Rev. Groody said, positing that the Christian life overall is a migration from brokenness to oneness.

September 20, 2017; Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C. (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)

Rev. Groody has served on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ committee on migration and was deeply moved when he attended a Mass on the Texas border with Mexico. Half of the altar was in each country with a fence running over it. He also was awestruck when he saw Pope Francis celebrate Mass on the Mediterranean using a chalice made from the wood of a wrecked migrant boat.

Rev. Groody has his own chalice made of flotsam from a refugee vessel. The Eucharist and today’s migrant life are linked, the theologian says.

People often ask Rev. Groody how to solve the migration problem. He admits that he is not a political scientist but says that a good start would be seeing the humanity of migrants. That differs from a rising narrative in the United States, which frames migrants in general as problematic threats.

Another good step, he explains, would be embracing a Christian understanding of stewardship. Some Americans fear migrants will encroach on what they earned and possess, when the Christian idea is that everything is a gift from God.

“We don’t just need more statistics about migration,” Rev. Groody said. “We need a new imagination.”

To attend the talk, which costs $10, register at https://catholiccharitiesoregon.ejoinme.org/Groody or scan the QR code.

Scan the QR code to register!