Notre Dame and Latin American bishops sign memorandum of understanding

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, and president of the Latin American Bishops' Conference (CELAM), sign a Memorandum of Understanding Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes sign a Memorandum of Understanding

The University of Notre Dame and the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) have signed a “memorandum of understanding,” pledging to cooperate in a range of initiatives in academics, social development, peace-building and institutional administration.

Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, president of CELAM, signed the memorandum in a ceremony Tuesday (March 24) in Notre Dame’s Main Building.

“In the Catholic Church, international community and cooperation are crucially important,” said Father Jenkins as he greeted and introduced Archbishop Aguiar. "What binds us together is deeper than culture and language, and this agreement will help Notre Dame bond more closely with the cultures, communities and institutions of Latin America.”

In his remarks, Father Jenkins particularly thanked Notre Dame trustee Jose Enrique Fernandez and Monsignor Carlos Quintana, a 1981 Notre Dame alumnus, for beginning the conversation between Notre Dame and CELAM, which includes 22 bishops conferences in Latin America.

Archbishop Aguiar expressed gratitude to Notre Dame for “helping us to unify and strengthen the communities and organizations of the Church,” and said that such individual initiatives as this agreement were “like small streams of water which join other small streams until they become mighty torrents. Such torrents and currents give life to the whole ocean.”

The agreement includes the establishment of a committee of Notre Dame faculty and administrators and CELAM leaders to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership on research initiatives, student and faculty exchanges, pastoral problems and opportunities, and development of best practices in administration. Committee members representing Notre Dame will include Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and church affairs; Peter Casarella, associate professor of theology; Steve Reifenberg, executive director of the Kellogg Institute; Chuck Lamphier, lead adviser for mission engagement; and Dylan Reed, program director for global advancement.

Contact: Chuck Lamphier, 574-631-1728,