July 26, 2018 — Father Ben Urmston, SJ, received a proclamation from the City Council of Cincinnati recognizing his efforts for world and local peace and justice on June 27. Fr. Urmston serves as director emeritus of Peace and Justice Programs at Xavier University and as chaplain of Christian Life Communities in Cincinnati.
“The Mayor and City Council recognize Father Benjamin J. Urmston, SJ, PhD, for his lifelong contributions to the Catholic Church and Xavier University, his conscientious work for greater peace and justice in our world, his tireless efforts as an educator and community leader to ignite a passion within our community for social justice and human rights, and his unwavering encouragement for us all to live as men and women for others,” read part of the proclamation, signed by Mayor John Cranley and Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman.
“I think we underestimate our need for one another. We need to continue to engage in civil discourse with one another, to listen to one another. We can make this city and world a better city and a better world,” Fr. Urmston said after the proclamation was read at the City Council meeting.
Fr. Urmston has been a guiding force of peace and justice issues for many years. He first came to Xavier University as an undergraduate in1943 and then entered the Army. He was in Patton’s army in Europe and also in the Philippine Islands. While in the Philippines, Fr. Urmston decided to become a Jesuit and in 1946 he entered the Jesuit novitiate.
In 1971, he returned to Xavier University where he became an instructor of theology, focusing his teachings on international issues, human rights, and non-violent solutions to the problems of the world. In 1977 he began “Faith and Justice Forum,” a weekly radio talk show, which continued until 2005.
“I thought becoming a priest was the best way to make this a better world,” he said. “I instinctively wanted to rid our planet of wars and poverty.” [Sources: City of Cincinnati, Sos Art Cincinnati]