Devyn Forcina ’22
On November 11, Agape Latte was held by SGA and Holy Cross Dance Marathon. At Agape Latte, Holy Cross staff and faculty have the opportunity to share personal narratives involving their faith with students in an open-forum setting. After a reception featuring a performance by the co-ed a cappella group Fools on the Hill, and refreshments from Boston Donuts and InHouse Coffee, the talk began. This month’s speaker was Professor Mary Roche of Holy Cross’ Religious Studies Department. Professor Roche spoke about her journey for social justice and awareness pertaining to HIV and AIDS, and about her experiences with them as a theologian. This month’s co-sponsor, Holy Cross Dance Marathon, raises money to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation via the annual Dance Marathon, being held next semester on January 31st, 2020. Professor Roche’s approach aligns with the mission of the Holy Cross Dance Marathon, as both promote advocacy for HIV and AIDS.
Professor Roche graduated from Holy Cross in 1990 as a Religious Studies Major. After graduating, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and went to Atlanta. There, she made many relationships with people impacted by HIV. “These were people I worked with and loved”, she explained at Agape Latte. Her personal history with HIV and AIDS developed her passion for them as ethical and social justice issues. Professor Roche affirmed the humanity of these often stigmatized topics: “For me, sexual ethics are social ethics.”
Agape, a Greek word meaning selfless love, became central to her message as Professor Roche emphasized the intertwinement of sacrifice and dignity. She called the audience to “think about intrinsic dignity, mutuality, and reciprocity.” The idea of dignity was brought up again during the Q&A portion of the event. A question about the church’s perception of individuals with STIs received Professor Roche’s answer: “Everyone has dignity. I think we need a much more compelling sexual ethic that is developmentally appropriate.”
Another successful Agape Latte meeting concluded with a discussion between students and Professor Roche. If you are interested in attending similar events, Holy Cross Dance Marathon will take place on January 21, 2020. Agape Latte will return next month on December 11; the speakers at December’s Agape Latte will be Emily Rauer-Davis and Meg Fox-Kelly.