Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture

Letter from the Director

Hope, This Easter Season

Easter Vigil at my parish brought forth so many symbols that express the hope that we Christians have during this season of Easter. After witnessing the blessing of the Easter candle at the entrance of the church, we made our way to our places in the darkened halls. And dark it was. Slowly, the light of Christ, symbolized by the flame of the Pascal candle was lit and passed from one parishioner to the next until the darkness was final dispelled and we could see one another’s faces once more. In the many years that I have attended the Easter Vigil at my parish, I have not witnessed the church totally dark and so failed to appreciate the power of the hundreds of lit candles to dispel the darkness as I had at this year’s vigil.

Recent violent events around the globe can seem like overwhelming darkness, and yet the season of Easter reminds us precisely of the victory of life over death. We are invited to allow the light of Christ to shine brightly, even if only through the small candles of our various efforts to live as people of hope. Let us express this hope during this season of Easter through our response to our diverse callings to embody a resurrection faith. Though modest, the ICTC will continue to invite conversations that challenge and encourage.

This spring, we continue unpacking Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, by focusing specifically on concrete ways that the invitation to “care for our common home” is being accepted both locally and globally. We focus a series of events on the Catholic imagination as expressed in art and literature. We continue to work with various partners on and off campus to bring the good news at the heart of the Catholic tradition into our conversations. 

I carry with me another stunning image from this year’s Easter Vigil into this Easter season. Among the elect to be baptized at St. Anthony parish was a young father. After his own immersion into the waters of baptism, he remained in the baptismal font as his young baby, no more than a month old, was handed to him to be baptized that same evening. The image of father and child immersed in the waters of baptism together as they join the community of faith invites the imagination to dare to dream of what is possible, to hope for a future where flickers of light will come together to overcome darkness.


    —Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Ph.D.
Inaugural Director, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture


In Celebration


It is my honor to share a beautiful expression of the world to which the ICTC is called, a beautiful poem written for the institute by Gabriella Gutiérrez & Muhs, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Modern Languages.





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