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Seattle University


Bringing Ignition to Mission

Written by Mike Thee
March 31, 2011

Anyone out there wondering about this year’s Mission Day should know that the planning committee is putting together a program to fire us up about our work at Seattle University. Yes, with apologies for bad puns, wonder and fire will factor prominently in this year’s program, which takes place April 14. 

In planning Mission Day, the committee “started with the notion of science and religion,” says Peter Ely, S.J., vice president for Mission and Ministry, which he points out is the theme for this year’s Catholic Heritage Lecture Series. “We kept pushing on it. We wanted something inclusive of faculty and staff that everyone could get into.” They chose the theme “A Fire that Kindles Other Fires: Igniting Wonder, Pursuing Justice.” (All you aficionados of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus ou

Delio to deliver final Catholic Heritage Lecture

Sr. Ilia Delio will deliver the third and final lecture of the Catholic Heritage Lecture Series on Thursday, April 14 in Pigott Auditorium. Her talk will be on “Theology After Darwin: Towards a New Religious Future.” Delio is a Franciscan with PhDs in pharmacology and historical theology, who currently serves as senior research fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.  

Her talk caps off this year’s inaugural Catholic Heritage Lecture Series, which has taken up the question of how faith and religion relate. As a woman religious with a science background, Delio brings an interesting perspective to the dialogue. She sees “something distinctive happening in our age that opens us to the possibility of a new future for civilization and religion,” says Peter Ely, S.J., vice president for Mission and Ministry. 

t there will recognize “A Fire that Kindles Other Fires” as the title of the congregation’s second decree.) 

As for wonder, Fr. Ely sees it as a common denominator for religion and science. “Faith is about not taking the world for granted; it’s about seeing the world as transcendent.  When I look up at the stars, I say, ‘There must be a God.’ When Copernicus looked up at the stars, he was led to science. The same sense of wonder that leads us to science, leads us to faith.” 

The planning committee for Mission Day is hoping faculty and staff will consider how this sense of wonder pervades their work. Two panels will help stoke the conversation. One panelist is Ilia Delio, who later in the evening will deliver the third Catholic Heritage Lecture. 

There’s a new element to this year’s Mission Day. The day before faculty and staff meet, a separate Mission Day for students will take place in Pigott Auditorium. A few classes will participate and take up the same topic we will explore on the 14th. 

Mission Day begins on April 14 with a Continental Breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Connolly Center. The program will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 12:30. Box lunches will be provided. The Mission Day planners hope that some people will remain in the North Court to eat their lunches and continue conversations. They hope to have some activities that would engage people’s attention.