Rev. Daniel G. Groody, scholar and filmmaker, to discuss the theology of migration in University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Alumni Lecture at Fairfield University on November 13


Fairfield native Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., Ph. D., M. Div., assistant professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, will elevate the conversation about migration by taking it "out of the binary, legal/illegal, right/wrong, us/them rhetoric" when he delivers a public lecture at Fairfield University on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7:00 p.m.

The Notre Dame Club of Fairfield County is presenting this free University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Alumni Lecture in conjunction with Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life.

The lecture, entitled, "Dying to Live: A Theology of Migration," will explore migration from a global and a theological perspective. Fr. Groody will intersperse his talk with clips from documentaries that he has made about the plight of migrants, including his award-winning film, "Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey," which aired on PBS.

"I will examine the foundational territory, the geographical territory and the theological territory," Fr. Groody said.

Since 2002, he has been the director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has spent many years working in Latin America, particularly along the U.S.-Mexican border. At one point, he worked at a border outreach center in Mexico offering pastoral support to migrants.

"The immigration issue underscores not only conflict at geographical borders but the turbulent crossroads between national security and human insecurity, national sovereign rights and human rights, civil law and natural law, and citizenship and discipleship," Fr. Groody once wrote.

The lecture will be a homecoming of sorts for Fr. Groody. He spent his childhood in Fairfield, and is a graduate of Holland Hill Elementary School and Tomlinson Middle School.

He "almost went to Fairfield Prep," but his family moved to New Jersey so he continued his education there. "My mother used to work at Prep, and I spent much of my youth growing up on Fairfield's campus. It will be good to be back there."

He earned a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Divinity and a S.T.L. from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He earned a doctorate in theology from the Graduate Theological Union, also in Berkeley, Calif.

Fr. Groody is the executive producer of various films and documentaries, including "One Border, One Body: Immigration and the Eucharist," and "Fighting for Human Dignity," which aired on NBC last year. He received the New Way Media Film Festival award for Best Documentary 2006 for his film, "Dying to Live." The film was also a finalist for a Harry Chapin Media Award in 2006, and was accepted into film festivals around the world.

He is the author of numerous books, including "Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit" (Rowman and Littlefield Press, 2002), and "Globalization, Spirituality and Justice: Navigating the Path to Peace" (Orbis Books, 2007). In addition to authoring numerous journal articles, he is the editor of the book, "The Option for the Poor in Christian Theology" (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007), and co-editor of "A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey: Theological Perspectives on Migration" (University of Notre Dame Press, 2008). From 2007 to 2008, he was a visiting research fellow at Oxford University, at the Oxford Refugee Centre.

The lecture is open to the public and will take place in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dining Room, on the Fairfield University campus. For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 3415.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 5, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 118