CSC Supports Course in Cuba

By: JP Shortall

October 28, 2016

When Pope Francis visited Cuba in September, 2015, he described the island as “a key between north and south, east and west,” explaining that its “natural vocation is to be a point of encounter for all peoples to join in friendship.” During the recent fall break, Notre Dame students and scholars proved the validity of the Pope’s metaphor by gathering for a conference and course in Cuba’s capital city, Havana.

The conference, “The Search for God in America: The Journeys of Pope Francis to the Americas in 2015,” was hosted by the University’s Institute for Latino Studies and examined the significance of Pope Francis’ visits to the Americas. The course, “Between God and the Party,” was taught by Rev. Robert Pelton, C.S.C. and Peter Casarella, associate professor of theology and director of the Latin American Church Concerns Project. It gave students the opportunity to talk with Cuban youth and learn about US-Cuban relationships and the global expanse of the Catholic Church.

The course was supported by a course development grant from the University’s Center for Social Concerns, which funds courses designed by faculty and graduate students to incorporate social concerns by using the pedagogy of community-based learning.

The international engagement area of the Center for Social Concerns supported Professors Pelton and Casarella by designing and arranging the community-based learning components of the course during the week in Havana.

For more on course development grants, please contact Connie Snyder Mick at For more on international area initiatives, please contact Rachel Tomas Morgan at

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