The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago, Joshua’s alma mater for graduate studies , was the site for the first book event promoting Letters from Abu Ghraib, the 2nd edition, which was recently published by Wipf and Stock Publishing House. The event was moderated by Joseph Clair, professor and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Director of the William Penn Honors Program at George Fox University as well as a board member for the Joshua Casteel Foundation. Dean Laurie Zoloth welcomed those in attendance and Jeff Stackert offered opening remarks.
Jim Forest, noted international author and lay theologian was the main speaker. He brought an inspirational and personal reflection on his encounters with Joshua and talked about the importance of seeing peacemaking through the lens of our everyday living using the gifts and abilities we’ve been given, but always in the context of love. It was a rare gift and a pleasure to have had him with us.
Joseph along with Elizabeth Moriarty, who works as the Cardinal’s Director of Leadership Gifts for the archdiocese of Chicago read portions from Joshua’s book and offered personal insights. To culminate the event Kristi Casteel made a few comments which included informing the audience about the artistic portrait of Joshua that was displayed at the event. It was created by Michael Applegate, an artist and art therapist and counselor, veteran, and recent graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. The piece had just come from the National Veterans Museum exhibition. Michael has gifted it to the JC Foundation which we greatly appreciate. (you can see it on our new website soon to be launched where it will be featured) Finally Kristi joined Jim, Joseph, and Elizabeth as a panel to field comments and questions from those in attendance. In all it was an intimate and personal time of reflection offering a reminder to all in attendance of not only the impassioned life and journey of the author, Joshua Casteel, but of the ongoing impact of all that he left behind.
The Joshua Casteel House
The Joshua Casteel House (Catholic Worker) in Alliance, Ohio was the site of the second book event held on October 28th promoting Joshua’s book, letters from Abu Ghraib. The event was moderated by Joe Torma, Professor of Theology at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio and one of a group of committed Catholic citizens of the Alliance area to help run the JC House. The house is run in a very organic sense, like a family, serving and welcoming all those who desire fellowship, food, assistance, and love with everyone taking part and helping in the ways that they can.
Kristi Casteel gave opening remarks to those in attendance, telling Joshua’s story for those who may not have been familiar with it. Daniel Schmidt, one of the volunteers with the house, offered his thoughts and insights based on his reading of the book as well as what he has gleaned of Joshua’s life from online sources and those who had met him. His words seemed to come from true reflection of not only Joshua’s life but out of his own which made them very inspirational to all of us.
Bishop John Michael Botean, founder of the JC House, then read from Joshua’s book and gave a very personal reflections from his brief but impactful meetings with Joshua while he was alive and active in the peacemaking community. His was a special reflection, as it came from the one who chose to honor Joshua by putting his name on a ministry founded in love for others. Joe Torma then ended with a brief comment and a few words from ‘A Mother’s Tribute’ written by Kristi which was added to the 2nd edition book. The food and fellowship following was more than heartwarming as people told stories of how their lives have been impacted by the book and by the ministry of love that is the Joshua Casteel House. We were even treated to an amazing juggling act as one of the regular attenders juggled up to eight balls at a time!! He uses his gift to teach children in schools and recreational programs. I definitely came home feeling as though I had been fortunate enough to take part in a loving and caring family.
While there I was interviewed by the Canton Repository Newspaper . You will find that article below: