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Creighton student, graduate to discuss climate change, migration with Pope Francis

Feb 16, 2022
5 min Read
Cindy Workman
Henry Glynn_Emily Burke

A Creighton student and recent graduate will speak directly with Pope Francis later this month at a forum the pope is hosting with university students from across the Western Hemisphere.
Henry Glynn, a political science and theology major in Creighton’s College of Arts & Sciences, and alumna Emily Burke, BS’21, will speak with the pope via video call Feb. 24 during Building Bridges North-South: A Synodal Encounter Between Pope Francis and University Students, hosted by Loyola University Chicago. 
During the hour-long event, which begins at noon Central Standard Time, university students from North, Central and South America will engage in dialogue with the pope about pressing issues facing the world today, including poverty, climate change and mass migration. The virtual forum is open to the public
Glynn and Burke were chosen by their peers in a working group of more than 20 students representing the central United States and Canada. They became involved with the event through the recommendation of Richard Miller, PhD, a professor in the Department of Theology, and Dan DiLeo, PhD, associate professor and director of the Justice and Peace Studies program. 
“Henry and I will be speaking with the pope about climate change as a root cause and present and future driver of migration and refugee crisis,” says Burke, currently pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. “Climate change is the greatest of my own priorities – and anxieties – as a young person, and I look forward to being able to dialogue with Pope Francis about this issue that I know is close to all three of our hearts.”
The pair will speak with Pope Francis for about 12 minutes, presenting on their topic of choice before engaging in dialogue with the pope. 
Glynn, who is currently spending a semester interning with the nonprofit Catholic Climate Covenant in Washington, D.C., through Creighton’s Capitol Hill Internship Program, says he’s “both nervous and excited,” but mostly “incredibly grateful for this pertinent opportunity.”
“Since coming to D.C., I’ve come to realize that the capacity for the Catholic Church to make a positive change in policy is extraordinarily large and extraordinarily untapped,” Glynn says. “Catholic social teaching is all about prioritizing human dignity and promoting the common good. Imagine if our politics were centered on that. Church and state are separate, but morals and politics are not separate, and they never have been.”