College of Arts & Sciences

Here are some recent highlights for the Center for Catholic Studies, Summer 2013:

Faculty Retreat to Rome: "A Journey of Transformation and Christianity and Culture in Dialogue," June 2 – June 8, 2013

By Kelly Shea, Ph.D.

What could eight nursing faculty, one physicist, one psychologist, one English faculty, four administrative staff members, three religious studies faculty, a business faculty member, a philosopher, a SHMS faculty member, and two members of the Seton Hall Class of 1953 and 1960 possibly have in common?  As Seton Hall colleagues, they recently spent a week together in Rome, Italy, as part of the Center for Catholic Studies and Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership co-sponsored biennial Faculty Retreat to Rome.  The theme of this year's retreat, "A Journey of Transformation and Christianity and Culture in Dialogue," allowed these faculty and staff members to explore the ancient history, art, architecture, and culture of Rome within the context of some of the age-old questions of the Catholic intellectual tradition, including, Where did we come from?  Why are we here?  How do we live in this world?  What happens after we are done with this world?  How do we teach others to consider these questions?  How do our answers inform our own practice?

From June 1 through June 8, these 23 colleagues traveled to Rome and stayed in a beautiful Retreat Center overlooking the Coliseum and run by the Passionist Fathers of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Led by staff of the on-site Lay Centre, the group toured basilicas, ancient ruins, and the Vatican Museum.  They attended the audience of Pope Francis, visited the ancient city of Ostia, following in the footsteps of St. Augustine, and participated in a mass celebrated by Seton Hall's own Monsignor Richard Liddy in the Ireland chapel beneath the Basilica of St. Peter.  They met professors, priests, nuns, and other experts on Rome, history, art, architecture, and spirituality.

It was a personally invigorating, spiritually inspiring, and intellectually stimulating week of sights, sounds, and conversations.  The participants are currently developing essays describing their own individual experiences, which the group hopes to gather together into a tome, tentatively called Writing Rome: A Spiritual Journey.


Lonergan Conference in Oxford, June 29, 2013

By Msgr. Richard Liddy

The summer of 2013 witnessed a number of "Lonergan Conferences" throughout the world, including ones in Boston, Jerusalem and the University of Oxford.The Oxford Conference on June 29, entitled "The Journey of Transformation: Perspectives from Bernard Lonergan," was co-sponsored by the Maryvale Institute of Birmingham, England, and the Bernard J. Lonergan Institute at Seton Hall University.

The major speakers of the conference were Bishop Philip Egan (Diocese of Portsmouth) on "Lonergan and Being a Bishop," Andrew Beards (Maryvale Institute) on "Lonergan and Williamson," Timothy Walker (Maryvale Institute) on "Lonergan and the Science/Religion Question in Education," Christopher Friel (Maryvale Institute) on "Transformation and Deliberation," Msgr. Richard M. Liddy (Seton Hall University) on "Lonergan on the University," Gerard Whelan, SJ (Gregorian University) on "Lonergan on History," William Mathews (Milltown Institute, Dublin) on "Finance, Inequality and the Pure Cycle" and Deborah Savage (University of St. Thomas, MN) on "Word, Idea and Women's Ways of Knowing."

Particularly important was Bishop Philip Egan's talk on "Lonergan and Being a Bishop" in which he illustrated the relevance of Lonergan's methodology to unifying diocesan pastoral care. This is an important step forward in providing "a framework for collaborative creativity" within the Church.

The conference amply illustrated that such a methodology spans the disciplines and highlights human transformation: intellectual, moral and religious. Lonergan's generalized empirical method can link religion – "falling in love with God" - with economics, literature, science and ordinary living. 


2013 Faculty Summer Seminar II, Understanding Values

By Brittany Venturella

As students enjoyed their last days of summer, about 30 faculty members attended the 2013 Faculty Summer Seminar II, Understanding Values, co-sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies and the Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership. The four-day seminar--taking place between August 19 and 22--focused on how faculty could communicate ethics and values to their students in order to prepare them to make good career and life decisions.

Father Brian Cronin, professor at Duquesne University, facilitated each of the seminar's eight sessions that highlighted Bernard Lonergan's approach to values, ethics, and feelings. The sessions' topics included The Values Situation, From Truth to Value, Understanding Values, Role of Intellect in Knowing Values, the Role of Feeling in Knowing Values, Teaching Values, Values and Institutions, and Implementation.

One faculty member wrote in the seminar evaluation, "I believe that 'values' are a topic of much relevance in a globalized world." Because the world becomes more globalized every day and different cultures intermix, values remain relevant guideposts for actions. The seminar addressed how to better fulfill the Seton Hall's mission of preparing students for ethical leadership in a global society.

In the final conversations of the seminar, faculty discussed the idea of role models as a way to teach values, and role models' impact on Seton Hall students. They proposed that they, among others, are the students' role models and should teach values through their actions as well as their words. Fr. Cronin stated that using role models allowed for the development of feelings, such as inspiration and admiration. In turn, those feelings could help to teach values.

The faculty also addressed the idea of an individual's "freedom of responsibility," using free will to choose one's actions. Although professors can teach their students to be good citizens, they cannot force the students do the right thing. In response to this problem, the faculty agreed that their goal is to "plant the seed" of good values and ethics, so that when the time came for the students to act, the students would know the option of "doing good."

The participants considered the seminar an overall success in its goal of providing value theory and promoting discussion on teaching values. In evaluating the seminar, a faculty member wrote, "I'm able to have a clearer understanding on how to institute values and ethics in the classroom." Since 1998, the Center for Catholic Studies has focused on faculty development and provided the opportunity to focus in depth on topics central to the purpose of teaching and learning at Seton Hall.

Contact Us

Center for Catholic Studies
(973) 275-2525
(973) 275-2175
Fax (973) 275-2594
Walsh Library Rm. 429

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