by Hilda Kleiman
On Tuesday, April 18, the seminary community received a lunch-hour talk by Mr. Paul Hicks, the Senior Technical Advisor for Water Resources at Catholic Relief Services. He has worked for Catholic Relief Services for 18 years and was able to come to Mount Angel Seminary on his way to a specialty coffee conference in Seattle.
Mr. Hicks titled his talk "Integral Ecology: The Confessions of a Catholic Development Worker." In his talk he spoke on how he has been inspired by Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si and shared three lessons he has learned as a development worker.
Lesson #1 - He and agencies such as CRS cannot solve other peoples problems for them. Hicks described CRS as a relationship agency that may assist communities with developing the relationships within their own communities that will enable them to address their own problems.
Lesson #2 - He has learned to embrace conflict, to understand that the way toward a better situation is often by working through conflict rather than avoiding it.
Lesson #3 - Development work is inherently political and includes advocacy, particular concerning the common good and natural resources.