Theologian Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., speaks about refugees and woodworking

Author: Office of Brand Content

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Tucked into a stand of trees, just between the lakes on campus, is the Annex. A plaque outside a substantial workshop within the building introduces visitors to Sacred Heart Woodworking. Etched into the plaque is the University seal and the cross and anchors, the emblem of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Between the two symbols of the University is the likeness of a wooden chalice with a nail running through the base.

The original chalice, made from the driftwood of a refugee boat, was used by Pope Francis in 2013 at a Mass in Lampedusa, Italy, to mourn migrants lost at sea. Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., has a replica of that chalice made from the same wood.

Father Groody, the vice president and associate provost for undergraduate education, a professor of theology and global affairs and an avid woodworker, established the workshop with Paul Berrettini during the COVID shutdowns. What might at first blush appear to be an unseemly mashup of vocation and avocation is actually a seamless meshing of passion, devotion and skill. Father Groody aptly describes his work in both areas as being “in the service industry, and my boss is a carpenter.”

Father Groody’s most recent book, “A Theology of Migration: The Bodies of Refugees and the Body of Christ,” speaks to his deep concern about what is happening in the world to those fleeing abhorrent conditions for a better life.

“Thousands of people die each year in the Mediterranean and no one knows about it. And the only thing left is the remnant of pieces of the ships,” Father Groody said of the wood recovered and made into the chalice. The base was made from mesquite from the deserts of the American Southwest, where economic migrants cross the southern border. “You literally have a migrant and refugee crisis as part of the story of this chalice.”

Read the full story here.

Originally published by Office of Brand Content at on January 16, 2024.