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Lectures and Workshops

In addition to collaborating with academic departments and programs to achieve common goals, the Office for Mission & Ministry initiates a wide variety of scholarly and pastoral events to engage and inspire the campus community. Among annual activities sponsored by the office are:

Lectures and Symposia

The office sponsors a significant number of lectures each semester. Among its most prominent contributions were a year long multi-lecture series in support of the Jubilee Year Dedicated to the Apostle Paul (2008) and a similar program in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order and the relevance of the Franciscan Traditon (2009). Over the course of 2010-2012, the office sponsored a series of lectures on Virture Ethics. which was published in book form. The office currently coordinates three annual lecture programs:

  • Lectures on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
    focus on giants of the tradition, Augustine, Aquinas, Bonaventure, among others as a means of porfessional development for Villanova faculty.

  • Catholic Imagination and the Arts Series
    is designed to demonstrate how religious faith informs and inspires the work of artists, writers, poets, playwrights, musicians, film makers and culture in the broadest sense.

  • Augustinian Heritage Month
    Originally conceived as "Lectures in Augustinian Spirituality to demonstrate the relevance of St. Augustine to young adults living in the 21st century, this collection of programs is now celebrated as Augustinian Heritage Month.

Additional lectures, panel discussions and performances are scheduled throughout the year in collaboration with academic departments and programs.

Curriculum Development Workshop

To encourage the use of Catholic social teaching in the classroom at every level, the Office for Mission & Ministry sponsors a week-long curriculum development workshop.  

Speaking of Truth: Is There Anything in Between Absolute and Relative?

John Caputo, PhD, the former David R. Cook Chair of Philosophy at Villanova, addresses the question of the inescapability of the interpretation of truth. Truth, he says, is neither absolute nor relativistic, but interpretive, and some interpretations are better than others. (The lecture was part of Augustinian Heritage Month.)

A Black Suffragist's Story from the Jim Crow South

Historian and author Adele Logan Alexander, PhD, discusses her 2019 book, Princess of the Hither Isles, from Yale University Press. The book tells the story of Alexander’s grandmother, Adele Hunt Logan, who dedicated herself to advancing political and educational opportunities for the African American community.

From Just War to Peacebuilding: Lessons for US Racial Justice

Ethicist Lisa Sowle Cahill, PhD, the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College, presents a talk drawn from her book Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Pacifism, Just War, and Peacebuilding (Fortress Press, 2019).

2019 Aquinas Lecture

In her lecture "The God of the Bible and the God of the Philosophers," Eleonore Stump, PhD, Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at St. Louis University, argues that, for Aquinas, the God of classical theism is maximally present, responsive and personal to human beings.

Reform and Resistance: What Pope Francis Asks and Why Not Everyone Likes It

Austen Ivereigh, PhD, a London-based Catholic writer, journalist and commentator on religion and politics, and co-founder of Catholic Voices, discusses his 2019 book, Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and the Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church.

2020 Aquinas Lecture

Mary Hirschfeld, PhD, an associate professor of economics and theology at Villanova, presents the lecture "St. Thomas’s Views on the Economy and Human Happiness," based on her 2018 book, Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (Harvard University Press).

Holiness and Prejudice: The Black Catholic Legacy

Joseph N. Perry, an auxiliary bishop of Chicago, presents a talk titled "Holiness and Prejudice: The Black Catholic Legacy," sponsored by the Office for Mission and Ministry and the Africana Studies Program, as part of Black History Month.

The Catholic University and the Culture of Encounter

Bishop Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, presents the talk "The Catholic University and the Culture of Encounter."

The Rise of Antisemitism

Billie Murray, PhD, a Villanova professor of communication, describes how antisemitism is coded in images and language; and Paul Steege, PhD, a Villanova professor of history, speaks about the history and legacy of antisemitism in Germany—and why it's familiar today.

Who Is Left Out of the Image of God? Comparative Reflections from Hindu and Christian Theology

Michelle Voss Roberts, PhD, principal and professor of theology at Emmanuel College (Toronto), explores this question: Christians understand humans to be created in the image of God, but, historically, that image has often been defined in ways that exclude women, children and many persons with disabilities from full humanity. How might Hindu wisdom help contemporary Christian theologians take account of embodiment, difference and limitation, not only as descriptions of the human condition, but also as part of the imago Dei itself?

The Council after Auschwitz Cannot Fail to Speak of the Jews: Congar and Vatican II

Church historian Massimo Faggioli, PhD, explores the influence at Vatican II of the French Dominican priest Yves Congar, a compelling voice in the drafting of the document on non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate, and, in particular, the section on Judaism.

Native American Environmentalism in an Age of Ecological Crisis

Description to come

#Me Too, #Church Too: Sexual Violence and Social Justice

The #MeToo movement, which took off in fall 2017, has changed the conversation on sexual violence. Catholics have not been major contributors so far, but Catholic social thought and feminist theology offer important resources for diagnosing the problem and moving forward. Julie Hanlon Rubio, PhD, Professor of Social Ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, explains how.


Annual Workshop

Catholic Social Teaching and Issues of Justice is a curriculum development workshop designed to encourage faculty to become familiar with the core principles of Catholic social teaching and to explore ways to enrich an existing course syllabus with exposure to Catholic social teaching.