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Holy Cross to Hold Inaugural Colloquium on Catholics and Cultures

Renowned International Scholars to Lecture on the Study of Global Catholicism
Release Date: 
December 9, 2011

WORCESTER, Mass.— The Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross will launch an ambitious global initiative on Catholics and Cultures with a colloquium at the College, 1-5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 in Rehm Library, Smith Hall. The colloquium, titled “Contours of Catholic Life and Practice Today: Challenges and Opportunities in the Study of Global Catholicism,” is free and open to the public.

Catholics and Cultures will focus on the religious lives of Catholics around the globe and will explore how Catholic devotions, practices, beliefs, trends, and ethical concerns are manifest in very different cultural settings. The McFarland Center will host web-based resources and scholarly conversations, international conferences, and publications. It will also host postgraduate or visiting fellows who will develop their scholarship at Holy Cross, offer a wide array of new courses to students, and create summer immersion and research opportunities for students in church settings worldwide.

No other program with this scope currently exists, giving Holy Cross the opportunity to take the lead in the scholarly study of Catholic life and practice around the world.

The afternoon colloquium, “Contours of Catholic Life and Practice Today,” will feature presentations by distinguished international scholars of cultural Catholicism.

  • Rowena Robinson, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India, will give a talk titled “Through the Looking Glass: Indian Catholicism observed.” She has written and edited a number of books on Christianity, conversion, and the sociology of religion in India.
  • Robert Orsi, professor of religion and the Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University, will give a talk on “Real Presences and the Study of Lived Religion.” Considered the foremost scholar of American Catholicism, Orsi is the former Charles Chauncey Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University and winner of several national book awards and prestigious fellowships.
  • Rev. Thomas G. Casey, S.J., dean of the faculty of missiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, will give a talk titled, “Reimagining Catholic Theology in the Light of Catholic Belief and Practice Worldwide.” Author of Humble and Awake: Coping with our Comatose Culture, his research interests include evangelization and contemporary culture and the philosophy of culture. Previously, he directed the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies at the Gregorian.

Each presentation will be followed by a response from a Holy Cross faculty member. The afternoon will also feature a panel of students who will share how immersion experiences in Catholic cultures around the world have helped to shape their Holy Cross education. Thomas M. Landy, director of the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, will offer an introduction and overview of the Catholics and Cultures initiative.

For the complete schedule and to register, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.

About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College's commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.