Building Bridges Initiative

Pope Francis

Save the Date: June 20th, 2024 at 7 a.m. (Central - Chicago)

The Hank Center of Loyola University Chicago is proud to support and host the Common Home Corps (CHC). The CHC is a grant-bearing initiative that addresses the related challenges of climate change, youth climate anxiety, Catholic disaffiliation, and lack of the U.S. Church’s fidelity to creation care. The project was inspired by the first Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting that occurred in February, 2022-- a two hour Zoom conference, the first of its kind, between Pope Francis and university students from the Americas. The Common Home Corps is a direct fruit of BBI and is collaboratively led by Catholic Climate Covenant, the Hank Center and the School of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago, and the Center for Justice and Peace at Creighton University. The first convening of the CHC took place in June, 2023 where 25 undergrads from across the US attended a week-long training. The setting of Cohort Two is on the horizon– as Cohort One continues to work in the field.

Working with university partners across Asia Pacific, professors are convening and accompanying university and college students from across the region in 12 Working Groups. The students comprising those groups come from Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and more. The map below displays the locations of the university partners. The interactive map on the BBI Asia Pacific webpage also displays the home regions of participating students. Those students are studying diverse fields, including Theology, Psychology, Business, Education, Nutrition, Accounting, Physics, Law, Computer Science, Chemistry, Philosophy, Environmental Science, Music, History, and more.

These livestreams will be accessible through the Building Bridges Initiative website:



Past Building Bridges Events

On May 13th, Pope Francis welcomed Hank Center Director, Dr. Michael P. Murphy, and Loyola professors Dr. Peter Jones, Dr. Miguel Diaz, and Dr. Felipe Legaretta to further discuss the Building Bridges Initiative and how the Pope's support will help promote synodality in universities. 

In close collaboration with Dr. Emilce Cuda, Secretary of Pontifical Commission for Latin America and Adjunct Professor at Loyola, the objective is to create a variety of experiences--from jointly-taught courses in both the humanities and the hard sciences to working groups to be offered at universities across North and South America. Topics will also focus on several ongoing issues, including migration, energy policy, and the food crisis. The Building Bridges initiative will join other communities, both in in the AJCU network and beyond, to ensure that one intellectual fruit of a university education results in the construction and stewardship of a more just, caring, and sustainable world.

Pope Francis dialogued with university students from across the Americas on February 24, 2022. This historic encounter brought together students from North, Central, and South America, representing Loyola University Chicago along with 57 other universities across 21 countries, to discuss salient challenges of our time. The Pope engaged in dialogue with university students who shared concrete educational projects that seek to justly transform environmental and economic realities. This was just the beginning of the Building Bridges Initiative. If you are interested in being a part of the Building Bridges Initiative, please complete this form: Building Bridges Initiative