Greetings everyone! I have spent the past few months on sabbatical in Uganda, spending much of my time on the Bethany Land Institute (BLI) campus. Partially funded by the Louisville Institute, my sabbatical research project, Sowing Hope, involves working with BLI to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning, application, and impact of integral ecology, as proposed in Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’. It has been a rich few months of workshops with staff and management, interviews with Caretakers and trainees, and hosting various guests. These guests include Ray Archuleta, the renowned soil and regenerative agriculture expert who is featured in Kiss the Ground; Don Stelluto, executive director of the Notre Dame Kellogg Institute; Maurice Sikenyi, of the ND Ford Family Program; and John Nagy, managing director of the Notre Dame Magazine, who is writing a story on Bethany Land Institute.
Here are some photos from my time on the ground at BLI:
Speaking of BLI, we have officially released our 2022 annual report, which highlights stories, facts, and photos from 2022. Throughout the year, we planted over 51,000 trees. We also have 40 Caretakers/caretaker trainees that have participated in our program to date. Read the full annual report here.
While in Uganda, I also had the opportunity to to celebrate weekend masses at my parish church of Bugonga – Entebbe which was a joy.
I also was able to partake in other diocesan events, including the celebration of the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis papacy, where I was invited to be the main speaker. See various media links about the event:
Upon my return to the US, it was an honor to be invited by Harvard Memorial Church to give this year’s Noble Lecture (see here) and to preach at the Harvard Memorial church. You can see the transcript and listen to the sermon at Harvard Memorial Church here.
I am now briefly back in South Bend. We just had a wonderful BLI board meeting, where we welcome four new members. See photos below. I will soon be heading back to Uganda, where I will be teaching a three-week Notre Dame study abroad course on Religion, Peace and Development in Africa. The course will include a week-long immersive experience at BLI.
As always, I hope you are your families are doing well and staying healthy.