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Hope in the city

Kaitlin Sullivan | Thursday, October 1, 2009

We’ve all got a lot to be hopeful about. A football team that’s 3-1, hopefully about to jump into the rankings with another win. A fall that started late, hopefully meaning that winter will too. Mid-terms two weeks away, hopefully giving us enough time to study, or at least throw together last minute plans to hit Vegas for fall break. Hope gives us something to be excited about, something to look forward too. Hope also gives us something to work towards, a challenge to meet or goal to fulfill.

Each year about 300 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students choose to take personally hope’s call to action. They take 48 hours out of their winter breaks to “plunge” into urban poverty and examine what hope looks like in over 35 cities across the country. They pair up with Alumni Clubs and charitable organizations to learn about problems of poverty, hunger, education, healthcare, inequality, unemployment, and homelessness through direct service. This immersion experience is the basis of a one-credit experiential learning course offered by the Center for Social Concerns.

With people still reeling over the economic melt-down, the health-care crisis, and the intensification of our military situations abroad, some have found it hard to hope. It becomes even more important though, in times of turmoil, to embrace hope, as Pope Benedict XVI does in his recent encyclical Spe Salvi and as the Center for Social Concerns continues to do with its “Hope in Action” campaign. We must remember though that hope does necessitate action, and action in solidarity with the poor, who have been and will continue to bear the brunt of these crises.

While we at Notre Dame are not immune to the effects of these hard times, we have an obligation to find hope in the world and act on it. It is my hope that you’ll take some time this winter to go into the city not just to shop or catch a show, but to give witness to the other side of the city, the unrecognized poverty and the hidden hope that is found there. For more information on the Urban Plunge, visit socialconcerns.nd.edu. The application opens this week and the deadline to apply is October 30th.

Kaitlin Sullivan



Sept. 29