Undergraduate students can explore academic opportunities at Notre Dame at the sixth annual Majors Night on Thursday in the East Wing of South Dining Hall. Majors Night is a joint initiative between student government and The First Year of Studies, said AJ McGauley, student government’s Academic Affairs Committee chair. The event is open to all undergraduates and will take place between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. “The purpose is to give the undergraduate students the opportunity to have all the departments and majors and minors present in the same room,” McGauley said. McGauley said although most students who attend are freshmen, the event is geared toward all undergraduate students who want to talk to a departmental program representative. “I’m trying to make sure upperclassmen know that it’s worth their while to come,” he said. Representatives from every major at Notre Dame should be present to speak to students, McGauley said. “I meet in the fall with all five deans of the colleges and the School of Architecture and give them my current list of all the departments to make sure the list is exhaustive,” he said. “The idea is that it should be an exhaustive list of all the possible courses of study at Notre Dame.” The Center for Social Concerns will distribute information about its seminars and the Catholic Social Teaching minor. The Office of International Studies and the Career Center will also be present, McGauley said. Several institutes that give grants and scholarships will be at Majors Night as well, McGauley said. These include the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts. When students enter the East Wing of South Dining Hall, they will receive a map of the booth locations, McGauley said. There has been good attendance in past years, with 20 to 30 students walking around at any given point in time, McGauley said, but increasing attendance is one of student government’s goals for this year’s Majors Night. “It’s been at the Joyce Center Concourse, but we decided to move it [to South Dining Hall] because we thought this location would be easier for students,” McGauley said. “We had to deal with a few logistical challenges, but because we’re dealing with freshmen, we don’t want them to have to trek all the way to the Joyce Center. We’ll have a banner up, and they’ll see it and right after dinner can pop in for five or 10 minutes.” McGauley hopes students will discover new opportunities they weren’t aware of and get the chance to talk to department members. “The most exciting thing about Majors Night is it gives freshmen opportunities to walk around and talk to professors,” McGauley said. “Some kids just talk to student representatives and figure out what exactly is available at Notre Dame.”
Students can provide hope for HOPE on Saturday by taking an icy dip in Saint Joseph’s Lake during the fourth annual Polar Bear Plunge. The fundraising event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Saint Joseph’s Beach and is a joint effort between Badin and Dillon Halls. Badin Hall president Cristin Pacifico said the Plunge raises money for the HOPE Initiative, a charity in Nepal that promotes education and operates an orphanage. She said Badin’s hall fellow, industrial design professor Ann-Marie Conrado, helped start the organization. “All the money and proceeds we raise from this event go to Nepal to help orphans go to school,” Pacifico said. Participating in the Plunge is free, but Pacifico said students can donate $5 to receive raffle tickets for the event. Pacifico said ticket pre-sales will be today in North and South Dining Halls and the LaFortune Student Center. “Those tickets will guarantee that you get put in a raffle for different prizes like gift cards,” Pacifico said. “We’ll also be raffling off some of the fair trade goods like hats and scarves that are made by the Nepali women.” Badin Hall vice president Brianna Leon said the raffle reflects HOPE’s support for fair trade commerce. She said Badin’s annual Conscious Christmas event, which takes place in the late fall, also supports this mission. The event coordinators hope 400 to 500 people participate in the Plunge, Pacifico said. She said approximately 200 people participated last year and the event raised more than $2,000 in total. “Thanks to the funds raised from the Polar Bear Plunge and the other fundraisers that we do, [the orphans] are able to go to the top school in Nepal,” Leon said. Pacifico said any donation is welcome and encouraged. Those who would like to donate but not participate in the Plunge will still receive a ticket to enter the prize lottery. “I think [the money raised] really goes toward a good cause,” Pacifico said. “We’ve had Skype sessions with the Nepali kids and …we’ve also been able to see the kids grow up and to see where that money is going, that it really does give them hope to have a better future.” Pacifico said the Plunge offers Notre Dame students the opportunity for a unique thrill. “What other time of your life can you dive into a freezing cold lake in February in South Bend other than the Polar Bear Plunge?” she said.
As an educated woman with a degree in English Literature from Saint Mary’s College and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame, Carol Ann Mooney is a woman who has seen both sides of the street – the street known as State Route 933. Mooney, the current Saint Mary’s president, graduated from the College in the spring of 1972 in the midst of the Vietnam War and during the time Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s considered and rejected a merger of the two schools. “The non-merger was not a big deal to me. I did not come to Saint Mary’s under the assumption I would be receiving a Notre Dame degree,” Mooney said. “We finished in the spring of ’72 and none of my classmates were affected by the merger and none of my friends transferred over. To be honest, I was more worried about international politics at the time.” Even though she was not concerned about the potential merger, Mooney made sure to take full advantage of the resources offered on both campuses. “Even during my undergrad I felt as though I was a part of both schools. My study abroad program in France was a Notre Dame program. At that time I was even issued a Notre Dame ID,” Mooney said. “During my time at Saint Mary’s I used the Notre Dame library quite a bit and I went to the Huddle in La Fortune. At that time the co-exchange was also available so I could take class over there and I did.” While the non-merger may have not affected Mooney, some of her fellow Belles did find conflict in the matter. “We finished the year the merger was supposed to happen,” she said. “There were divisions of females that were pleased it was called off and others that were furious.” When her undergraduate years were finished, Mooney took the trip across the street to Notre Dame Law School, where she graduated first in her class in 1977. During her time there, she found it more difficult to travel back to Saint Mary’s. “I had no time in law school,” she said. “I only had time for work.” After working in Washington, D.C., as an associate attorney for a the law firm Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, Mooney returned to South Bend to serve as the Notre Dame vice president and associate provost from 1994 till 2004. “When I was a faculty member at Notre Dame I used to come over [to Saint Mary’s] and use the library because it is so quiet,” she said. “[At Notre Dame], I was often one of the few women in the room and here there are few men in the room.” In June 2004, Mooney became the College’s first lay alumna president. Throughout her term, she has continued to stress the importance of single-sex and faith-based education. “I still think there is an important role from all-women’s education. For me, I am dedicated to faith based education,” Mooney said. “I am really not interested in higher education where faith is not an element. I really like being in a place where faith and morals are spoken about openly.” Mooney’s deep roots at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s have allowed her to acquire knowledge from both sides of the street. She said she has gained great friendships and excellent professional relationships with “people from both sides of the road.” “I am rarely on the Notre Dame campus these days, but the relationships continue,” Mooney said. “At this point, we are much more like friendly neighbors. Obviously when the merger was being talked about there was constant communication. Now, we have good relationships and talk when we need to.” Mooney, who has co-authored two books, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and serves on a number of boards, said she will always continue to cherish both educations she received from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame. “We are like neighbors that share a driveway,” she said. Editor’s note: This is the last of a five-day series discussing the role of women at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, in honor of the 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University this year.
Sr. Susanne Gallagher, Sr. Mary Therese Harrington and Rev. James H. McCarthy, founders of the Special Religious Education Development Network (SPRED), will receive the 2013 Laetare Medal during the Commencement ceremony May 19. The Medal, established at Notre Dame in 1883, is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. It is awarded annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to a University press release. “Srs. Gallagher and Harrington and Fr. McCarthy have summoned the Church to a crucial and too often overlooked ministry,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said. “Insisting that a developmental disability neither tempers Christ’s invitation nor restricts one’s right to respond, they have ushered countless people to their rightful place at the Eucharistic table.” SPRED formed in 1960 when McCarthy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, began working with parents, special educators and catechist volunteers to make Catholic liturgies and catechesis more accessible to parishioners with developmental disabilities. Harrington, a member of the Society of Helpers, joined McCarthy in 1963 to assist with catechetical and administrative work. Gallagher, a member of the Sisters of Providence, joined them four years later to help with administration and the training of catechists. SPRED now provides faith formation and sacramental initiation programs to people with special needs in 28 dioceses and 200 parishes nationwide as well as in England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, Malta and Mexico. The Laetare Medal is named in celebration of Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent and the day Notre Dame announces its recipient each year. The Medal bears the inscription, “Magna est veritas et prevalebit,” which is Latin for “Truth is mighty, and it shall prevail.” The 2012 Medal was awarded to Ken Hackett, former president of Catholic Relief Services. Previous recipients include President John F. Kennedy, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and jazz composer Dave Brubeck.
Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs presented awards to seven students at the annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 1, according to a University press release.Senior Jenna Ahn received the Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Leadership Award for her work with Campus Ministry and the Center for Social Concerns (CSC). She has served as a leader in efforts to unite students working with both offices, the press release stated.“I think it’s essential that Campus Ministry work together with the CSC because the two, faith and justice, are deeply connected,” Ahn said. “Collaborating between Campus Ministry and CSC reminds us to always be contemplatives in action ⎯ where what we contemplate will be put into action and where our actions will become forms of contemplation.”Ahn said she became involved with the CSC’s Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP) and the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP), through which she traveled to Kolkata, India.“I decided to get involved with the SSLP after my freshman year because I was interested in continuing to ask the difficult questions about structural sin, poverty and suffering,” she said. “I left with more questions than answers.“I participated in the ISSLP in Kolkata because I wanted to experience and walk in the footsteps of Mother Teresa. I wanted to learn to love more radically, not for my own benefits and sense of ‘feel-good,’ but to love the other as to will only their good.”Senior Elizabeth Tucker, a four-year member of the varsity women’s soccer team and two-time captain, won the Ray Siegfried Award for Leadership Excellence, the press release stated. She has combined community service with her athletics, having her team adopt a patient from the local hospital and organizing tutoring at a local elementary school, Tucker said.“My junior year … I decided that it would be really cool to get involved with the Fighting Irish Fight for Life program, because it was a way [the soccer team] could adopt a little sister and bring someone in and bring so much happiness,” Tucker said. “It’s been really fun for me because I’ve gotten to know her very well.”Senior Julia Steiner, former editor-in-chief of Scholastic magazine, won the Denny Moore Award for Excellence in Journalism. The magazine has devoted more attention to the topic of diversity under her leadership, the press release said.“I think it’s really interesting to not only understand the differences that we all share on the outside, but to strike up these conversations and to begin to understand how we all think differently, how we see the world differently,” Steiner said. “… We did not have an outward push for diversity; it was kind of a thread that seemed to weave in throughout the year.”Steiner said she also credits the magazine’s success to all of the staff.“I accepted [the award] individually, and I am proud of the work that I’ve done, but at the same time, it was really a group effort,” she said. “That’s probably what I’m most proud of; Scholastic won News Magazine of the Year for the second year in a row in the state of Indiana.”Senior Edithstein Cho received the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award for her role as co-founder and producer of “Show Some Skin,” a student production that aims to shed light on students’ stories about difference and identity, according to the press release.“I saw minority students on our campus talked amongst themselves and did a lot of problem identification on race issues, which is articulating what is insensitive or racist,” Cho said. “To go beyond problem identification and to engage and change how people engaged race, the three of us [Cho, senior Hien Luu and JeeSeun Choi, class of 2012] wanted to hear deeper narratives.“The monologues [in ‘Show Some Skin’] show that the writers are human beings who have flaws and prejudices of their own, alongside having their own baggage that determines how they orient themselves. We named our production, ‘Show Some Skin,’ in order to challenge our community to dig deeper into their identity and experiences to create a starting point for dialogue. ‘Show Some Skin’ is a form of art for social justice.”Karen Antonio, a doctoral student in the department of biochemistry and chemistry, won the Sister Jean Lenz, O.S.F., Leadership Award for her contributions in promoting women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through her organization of monthly lunch meetings for women to present and hear research presentations, the press release stated.“You have this informal, comfort way of talking to faculty and staff,” Antonio said. “You get a different side of professors; you’re eating lunch, talking about what you do, your family, your pets, whatever you want, and it’s not that constricting, professional box that you are usually in.“As far as women in science go, you’re able to unite people in a very comfortable way that probably would not have been available otherwise.”Senior Alex Coccia, student body president emeritus, won the Rev. A. Leonard Collins Award, which is given to a senior who has made large strides toward advancing the interests of Notre Dame students, according to the Student Affairs website.Coccia worked to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ students, undocumented students and students affected by sexual violence, the press release said.“I want to ensure that all students feel welcome at Notre Dame, and breaking the silence on issues that create oppressive environments is the first step towards that goal,” Coccia said. “Ultimately, the student experience is sacred, and we must ensure that we as students do all we can to create a welcoming environment for all.”To nominate a student for next year’s awards, visit the Student Affairs website.Tags: Diversity, leadership, LGBTQ, service, Student Affairs, student leadership
The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) hosted an installment of the CWIL Colloquium featuring a presentation by Fulbright Arabic Teaching Assistant Olfa Slimane. Slimane discussed the ways in which prominent female figures have shaped history in Tunisia and helped create a modern society with gender equality. “The Tunisian woman is a mixture of different cultures,” Slimane said. “She is the Berber. She is the Byzantine. She is the Roman, the Arab, the Muslim, the Christian, the Jew.”In the early years of Tunisian history, one of the most notable women was Elissa, known as Dido to the Western world, Slimane said. Elissa founded “The Shining City,” Carthage, after fleeing her hometown in Lebanon when her brother killed her husband. She bought the land where she built the city by offering cowhide to locals.“These women paved the history of Tunisia,” Slimane said of Elissa and several others. “Because of them, Tunisian women gained very strong agency in the society. However, it is strongly felt in society, but it was not written in the Constitution.”Slimane said before Tunisia gained independence, Tahar Haddad, a modernist scholar, issued a book that offered a modern reading of the Quran, causing it to be censored. He distinguished between Islamic precepts — the timeless beliefs held by Muslims — and Islamic law, which is temporal. According to Slimane, the book was censored because Haddad viewed women’s education as an integral part of a wider nationalist project to fight colonialism. “His book was the basis for this CPS, which is Code for Personal Status, in Tunisia, which is a series of rules and laws that secure equality of men and women in certain areas,” Slimane said.Slimane said after Tunisia gained independence, Habib Bourguiba, the first president, started a nationalist project based on Haddad’s book to build a modern progressive society and a politically and economically strong state by focusing on women’s education and women’s emancipation. She said the CPS, started under Bourguiba, raised the minimum age of marriage for both men and women and abolished polygamy and unilateral unexplained divorce by men. It also gave women alimony and custody rights, the right to legal abortion or child adoption and the rights to vote or be elected into office. “The status is very exceptional in the region,” Slimane said. “But it is not appreciated by many Muslim because it departs from the conventional way of viewing Islam.” Slimane said the situation of women after the revolution changed. “Women in Tunisia have great agency in society and politics in particular. This was not translated after the revolution election in 2011. One of the ironies of [the revolution] is that while it was a step forward for democracy, it has always threatened to be a step backward in women’s rights. The reappearance of the Islamist party with its more conservative position in the political scene put the CPS in jeopardy.” “We have a clause in the CPS saying that the woman is equal to men in household, and they wanted to change it to complementary to men in the household.” Slimane said. “This raised a lot of disagreement among people and many women organizations fought in order to keep the CPS untouched and to give women more prominence in politics.”Tags: center for women’s intercultural leadership, tunisia
Junior Theresa Sagartz, a former Pangborn Hall resident, passed away in her off-campus residence where she was found Wednesday afternoon, according to a University press release.St. Joseph County deputy coroner Chuck Hurley said Sagartz had a medical condition and likely died from natural causes.An autopsy was completed Thursday, Hurley said, but the official cause of death has not yet been determined. Sagartz likely died late Monday or early Tuesday, he said.Sagartz was a student in the College of Science and a native of Albuquerque, N.M. She was a third generation member of the Notre Dame community, according to the release.“As a community, we grieve for Theresa and extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “My prayers are with them.”In an email sent to students Wednesday night, Vice President of Student Affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding said the University Counseling Center (UCC) and Campus Ministry resources are available to all members of the Notre Dame community, even during spring break.“We realize that many of you may have been impacted by Theresa’s death,” the email stated. “The University Counseling Center and Campus Ministry are both available to offer their support to you and other members of our community.”A memorial service will be held after spring break, according to the release.Updated Thursday at 2 p.m.Tags: Theresa Sagartz
Becki Jeren | The Observer The 10th annual Loyal Daughters and Sons (LDS) show, a student performance exploring sexuality, gender relations and relationships, previewed at Saint Mary’s in Little Theatre last night. The show will open on Notre Dame’s campus Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium in Hesburgh Library.The production, which consists of monologues adapted from anonymous interviews and written submissions from students about their past experiences, is intended to start a dialogue about sexuality and sexual violence on campus, said Notre Dame alumna Emily Weisbecker Farley ‘07, the show’s creator, in a statement included in the show’s program.“I wanted to challenge the audience and make them think, and I wanted the material to be undeniably real and honest and relevant,” she said. “Drawing from the campus community and including as wide a range of experiences as possible was a way to try to give each audience member something to connect with, which might in turn leave them more receptive to hearing and digesting the rest.”Senior Skyler Hughes, co-executive producer of the show, said the show’s theme this year, “What’s Next?” is intended to recognize the progress still needed.“We were thinking, okay, so LDS has been around for 10 years now [and] it started a conversation on a lot of issues, but now that there’s a conversation going, what’s next?” he said. “What’s next on dealing with sexual assault as a community, but also, what’s next on LGBT issues? What’s next for gender relations?”The show highlights the community’s need to move forward with this conversation, sophomore co-writer Dominic Acri said in an email.“Writing [and] editing the stories for stage helped me realize that no matter how much we spread awareness about these topics, we can only see change if we are willing to ask, ‘what’s next?’” he said. “Now that we are comfortable sharing our stories and hearing the stories of others, it is time for us to move forward and continue to conversation.”Senior Anthony Murphy, the show’s director, said he credits the students willing to share their stories with the community for the production’s success.“What I’ve learned in the past week, even, is just how important the stories are,” he said. “It’s not the acting, it’s not my direction — the stories are what hold this performance up.”This year’s show was able to feature a balance of monologues about different subjects due to the increased number of student submissions, Hughes said.“This year, we got more submission than we have in the past couple years,” he said. “We were lucky that it covered a broad range of issues and we were able to show that onstage.”The performance is framed as a tour of Notre Dame’s campus for prospective students, with each location mentioned featuring two or three monologues relevant to that specific place. This aimed to emphasize the fact that these stories all come from members of the Notre Dame community, Murphy said.“The objective was kind of to make these topics salient, based on location,” Murphy said. “These things do happen on campus and that our friends, our classmates, our colleagues, are walking around with this baggage and maybe we’re not all alone. We’re not all so different.”While LDS is a helpful step in addressing issues surrounding gender and sexuality at Notre Dame, the community needs to take specific action, Hughes said.“I think that Loyal Daughters and Sons can be a really good part of how we move forward on these issues as a community, but it does take action outside,” he said. “Part of what somebody can do is come and hear these stories, and then that helps them learn more and know more and know what needs to be addressed. But there also needs to be concrete action taken … There are actionable steps and this show, I think, is a starting point in a conversation, but it’s definitely not an end in itself.”“What’s Next?” runs until Saturday and will feature a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. after the Saturday matinee performance.Tags: LDS, loyal daughters and sons, What’s Next?
The Notre Dame IDEA Center will be hosting its annual IDEA Challenge pitch competition Tuesday to encourage student entrepreneurship on campus and build excitement for the 2019 McCloskey New Venture Competition. Registration for the competition will start at 5:30 p.m. and pitches will start at 6 p.m. in the Mendoza College of Business.The McCloskey New Venture Competition is an annual IDEA Center competition aimed at helping Notre Dame-affiliated entrepreneurs propose ideas and develop business plans, with competitors eligible to win cash and prizes totaling over $400,000. Tuesday’s pitch competition is intended to prep entrepreneurs for the McCloskey Competition.Patti Reinhardt, the student entrepreneurship engagement program manager at the IDEA Center, said typically between 60 and 100 students make 60-second elevator pitches each year.“[The pitches are] a way to get students excited about the McCloskey New Venture Competition,” she said. “We’re hoping they come, they pitch ideas, they realize there’s some value and merit in their ideas, and they want to submit those ideas through our McCloskey New Venture Competition or in our student pipeline.”After the pitches, Reinhardt said there is a text-to-vote system for peers to select the best pitches heard. The first prize is a tailgating package, which includes $500 of Chick-fil-A food, a tent, a table and a parking pass for the Notre Dame-Florida State football game. The second prize is an Apple Watch, and 20 other prizes include $20 of Domer Dollars. In addition to the student-selected winners, there is a $150 prize for the best social idea and a $150 prize for the best healthcare idea.Reinhardt said the event is meant to encourage students from all majors, including both undergraduate and graduate students, to think about entrepreneurship.“No matter what it is, you should feel confident about coming and pitching an idea,” she said. “Typically when people think about entrepreneurship, they think, ‘Oh, well, I don’t want to be an entrepreneur.’ But those design students, College of Arts [and Letters] students, business students, they do have ideas. They may not think of themselves as entrepreneurs, but they certainly can have ideas and come and pitch those, and it may change their perspective.”Reinhardt said students who don’t have an idea to pitch should still come to the event. Chick-fil-A will also be provided.“[The event is] a great way to network with other students,” she said. “If you don’t have an idea, and you want to come and watch the pitch competition, you may see someone pitch an idea and be like ‘Hey, they have an idea for an app, maybe they need help.’”Students should not be discouraged if they don’t receive a prize at the competition, Reinhardt said, since there are other opportunities for all ideas moving forward.“We’re actually going to have our director of student startups and our [venture capital] coaches in the audience and watching the pitches, so they will be watching who is pitching and we’ll be reaching out to everyone after the competition to say, ‘Hey, here’s your options,’” Reinhardt said.As her favorite part of the event, Reinhardt said she enjoys seeing students who are unsure about their ideas come to pitch and seeing their surprise when other students like their ideas.Notre Dame students always keep others at the center of their ideas, Reinhardt said.“I’ve been to lots of different competitions, and our students are always focused on business for good,” she said. “You see that they’re always thinking about things that can change our world, not just something that’s going to make a lot of money.”Ultimately, Reinhardt sees the greatest benefit in keeping the event informal and relaxed and said students have said they enjoy it as well.“It eases [students] into the world of entrepreneurship,” she said. “It’s a very relaxed environment where they feel comfortable pitching in front of the students, and it gives them some practice before they start pitching to investors or judges.”Tags: competition, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, IDEA Center, IDEA Challenge
Representatives of Christian faiths from around the world and members of the local community participated in an ecumenical prayer service at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Tuesday night to celebrate the University’s commitment to unity among Christians. The service was co-presided by representatives from the Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist Churches: Rev. Neil Arder, Rev. Maxwell Johnson, Fr. Gerry Olinger, Rev. Hugh Page and Rev. Anna Adams Petrin.The service was attended by guests from the global religious community, including Rev. Chris Ferguson, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Rev. J.C. Park, president of the World Methodist Council.The prayer service uniting believers of all Christian religions in the community was held Tuesday in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.In his sermon, Page, who serves as vice president and associate provost for Undergraduate Affairs, highlighted the stories of Richard Allen and Absalom Jones — both African Americans born into slavery who purchased their freedom — as models of ecumenical action for social change. Faced with racial discrimination at St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, they formed the Free African Society and two separate churches — the African Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Page said.“They engaged in prophet action and ecclesial re-envisioning by disaffiliating from St. George’s [Methodist Episcopal Church] in protest and resolving to invest their energy into nurturing a Free African Society and an independent church — institutions that could help ensure the sanctity of black life, challenge racialized notions of personhood [and] citizenship,” Page said. “Theirs was an ecumenical collaboration.”According to Page, Jones and Allen “alter[ed] the American religious landscapes” and “redefined what it meant to be church” by working locally to create change and social uplift across denominational divides. Page additionally spoke of the commonalities between people of Christian faiths, specifically their common mission.“We are, when all is said and done, a community seeking to understand the breadth and the depth of [its] faith and its implications for our respective branches of the Christian family,” he said. “We are all attempting to get our hearts and our minds around what it means to be people of God.”Page voiced a call to all Christians to echo the prophetic actions of Jones and Absalom by cultivating relationships to maintain unity and diversity simultaneously. These relationships will blossom to from a willingness to embrace a common relationship with God, he said.“Our ability to enact the love that embodies the new commandment of this incarnate word is indeed our girt and our good news,” Page said. Following the sermon, the co-presiders led a renewal of baptismal vows, a sprinkling rite to symbolize common baptism. Prayers of the faithful were presented by members of the Notre Dame community in different languages. Music for the service was provided by the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir. A follow-up panel titled “From Conflict to Communion: The Future of Christians Together in the World” at will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. in the McKenna Hall Auditorium. Several senior leaders from different Christian denominations will speak and Notre Dame assistant professor of theology Neil Arner will moderate. The event is free and open to the public. Tags: churches, ecumenical, Faith, prayer