Guilherme Lopes, director of campus ministry, has been selected to join the Campus Working Group to Confront Racism, a national collaboration of campus ministers organized by the Secretariat of Catholic Education.
According to Barbara McCrabb, the Secretariat’s assistant director for higher education, the mandate for the Campus Working Group is to “raise awareness about systemic racism in general and more specifically on college campuses; promote the Church’s understanding of the inherent dignity of each human person and the sanctity of life; equip campus ministers to actively work against systemic racism; and model communication, collaboration, and action in carrying out this mandate.”
Lopes is eager for the opportunity. “I’m more excited to listen than to speak,” he admits. “I’m going to be around others who can teach me a lot. I’m very grateful and honored to be considered for this position.”
At 32, he has been at Neumann for one year after two years in a similar position at Cabrini University. He has been active in campus ministry for more than a decade.
“The Sisters here make it very easy to advocate for social justice,” he says.
Regarding his hopes for campus, he is taking a practical approach. “I find that conversations about systemic racism are often up in the sky. For students, fancy words don’t connect. I want to know how I can look at our programs and help form our student leaders. How do we build moments of organic formation?”
The 12-member Campus Working Group, which was launched in 2022, includes campus ministers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, campus ministers of color, and campus ministers who are actively working with diverse campus populations.
“I am excited that Guilherme will be serving on the Secretariat’s Campus Working Group to Confront Racism,” said Sr. Kathy Dougherty, vice president for mission and ministry. “I believe G will enrich the group with his background and experience, and I trust he will bring back to NU new insights and learnings. We pray for this group as they do the important work of raising awareness of systemic racism and working to eradicate it within our Church and university communities.”
In her letter inviting Lopes to join the group, McCrabb noted that the Secretariat’s initiative is supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. In addition to raising awareness about racism on campus, the Secretariat’s goal is to create a strong network among campus ministers, identify best practices, and develop resources.
The Campus Working Group to Confront Racism will meet monthly, starting in September.