Patrick Welage, assistant director of peace and justice programs, cites the Very Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, when talking about the program: “The real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become,” Welage says. “One of the highlights of this 25th anniversary celebration will be a sharing of both live and written testimonials from peace and justice alums. I would expect that their testimonials will be powerful statements and a challenge to our current students to follow that tradition.”
A primary goal of the peace and justice programs is to model and encourage visioning, the evaluation and rebuilding of existing structures to better serve humanity and promote a healthy earth. Journal keeping is encouraged to track development and journals are shared to document growth. The peace and justice programs seek to educate, empower and affirm a community interested in building a more compassionate, just world through social action and community service. In cooperation with all areas of campus life, it serves as a meeting point celebrating the Jesuit call for service of faith and promotion of justice.
Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., director for the peace and justice program, has been the guiding force behind Xavier’s peace and justice issues. Fr. Ben came to Xavier in 1943 as an undergraduate, then entered the Army, serving under Patton in Europe and the Philippines. While there, he decided to become a Jesuit and, in 1946, entered the Jesuit novitiate. He returned to Xavier in 1971, where he celebrated his 80th birthday last year.