Father Matt Ruhl Delivers Spring Freshman Lecture

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Rev. Matt Ruhl, S.J., former pastor of St. Martin de Porres, a Jesuit parish in Belize City, Belize, addressed the Panuska College of Professional Studies freshman class and the International Service Trip students on Friday, March 22, 2019. Father Ruhl is now pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Parish in Punta Gorda, Belize. He is serving 34 villages with three priests. Villages only hear Mass once every seven weeks.

University of Scranton students listened intently as Father Ruhl discussed the 34 Mayan mission stations in Punta Gorda.  Father Ruhl has worked in Belize City since 2012 in a Jesuit parish that was set apart by the violence surrounding its walls. According to United Nations crime reports, Belize achieved the unwelcome distinction of having the fourth-highest murder rate in the world, 10 times that of the United States. Eighty percent of the country’s murders occur in Belize City and the city’s south side, where St. Martin’s is located.  Father Ruhl informed the University students that he has buried men who have been murdered, and even the priests’ residence has been broken into. He asked the students if they could recite the Corporal Works of Mercy and silence fell across the group of 100 attendees. He informed the students that St. Martin’s excelled in the corporal work of mercy of burying the dead. They bury as many non-Catholics as Catholics. It is a corporal work of mercy and a genuine labor of love.

Father Ruhl told the students that Belize is a beautiful country and the majority of Belizeans are peace lovers, but they need to stand up and take control of their country.  He invited everyone at The University of Scranton to reflect on our own service and love to hear the “Call to Care.” He thanked everyone for always being a sign of hope.