Second Vatican Council 50th anniversary inspires symposium

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Second Vatican Council 50th anniversary inspires series at Lewis University

Published: September 7, 2012.

Lewis University’s Center for Ministry and Spirituality will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) with a “Living Vatican II in the 21st Century” symposium. All events will explore how the council’s dynamics, history, teachings and reception over 50 years will shape the church of 21st century. The symposium includes more than 20 events Sept. 18-21 on the university’s main campus in Romeoville. Admission to the events is free. Visit for more information.

The first keynote session of the symposium will begin at 11 a.m. Sept 18 with the event “Needing and Heeding ‘The Other:’ The Neglected Mandate of Vatican II.” Dr. Jon Nilson, professor of theology at Loyola University Chicago, will explore the Second Vatican Council’s renewal of pastoral ministry and its implications for the future church.

“Vatican II and the Remapping of American Protestantism” will be held at 11 a.m. on Sept. 19. In this presentation, Dr. David Daniels III, Henry Luce Professor of World Christianity at McCormick Theological Seminary, will examine Vatican II’s impetus for ecumenical dialogue between the Christian churches.

Events for Sept. 20 include “The Church in Dialogue: The Experience of Vatican II” at 2 p.m. and “The Bible in Our Lives Today” at 7 p.m. In “The Church in Dialogue,” Dr. Catherine E. Clifford, professor and vice dean at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, will argue how the Second Vatican Council stands out not only as a council, but also marks a significant turning point between the Catholic community and other Christian churches, other religions and the world at large. Dr. Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., a professor of Old Testament studies at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will address how the Second Vatican Council changed appreciation of the Bible among Catholics.

The keynote sessions will conclude on Sept. 21 with “‘The walls are sprayed with gospel’: Reading the Signs of Our Times” at 10 a.m. In this presentation, Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernandez, associate professor of pastoral ministry at the Catholic Theological Union, will analyze what ongoing creative and faithful responses to the council’s invitation mean for the planet’s future.

In addition to the keynote sessions, the “Living Vatican II in the 21st Century” symposium includes numerous presentations by Lewis University faculty members. Other highlights include “Artist Franklin McMahon Captures the Vatican II Experience” at 10a.m. Sept. 19 and a film screening of “A Question of Habit: Women Religious After Vatican II,” at 2 p.m. Sept. 19. In the first presentation, local artist Franklin McMahon's daughter, Margot McMahon, M.F.A., will show images her father created while reporting on the changes of the church. The screening of “A Question of Habit” will include Q & A with writer, producer, & director Dr. Bren Ortega Murphy of Loyola University of Chicago.

The Vatican II symposium is being presented by the Lewis University Center for Ministry and Spirituality. In harmony with Lewis’ Catholic and Lasallian identity of faith, service and community, Lewis University’s Center for Ministry and Spirituality embraces and nurtures religious experiences and spirituality. It offers various opportunities for students to explore their faith through co-curricular events, retreats, service opportunities and fellowship groups.

The Vatican II symposium also is presented as a part of Lewis University’s Arts & Ideas program, providing cultural and educational programming for students and the community. A portion of the Arts & Ideas events is sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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