2014-2015: The Church Pope Francis Invites Us to Build

“Think Globally, Act Locally: Pope Francis' Invitation to the Whole People of God" 

Keynote Speaker: Edward Hahnenberg, Ph.D., Jack and Mary Jane Breen Chair in Catholic Systematic Theology, John Carroll University
Panelists: Linda Haydock, SNJM, Executive Director, Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center and Joseph Orlando, Ed.D., Associate Vice President of Jesuit Mission and Identity, Seattle University

April 23, 2015

In his first words as pope, the Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio joked that the cardinals had to go to the ends of the earth to find Rome a bishop. In that one line, Pope Francis signaled his vision of a global church whose mission is lived out in local communities—whether that be Rome, Manila, Lagos, or Seattle. Edward Hahnenberg explored how Pope Francis’ hope for a “poor church, for the poor,” demands consultation, collaboration, and commitment on the part of all those “missionary disciples”—bishops, clergy, and laity—who together constitute the local church.

Panelists continued a dialogue on what it means to view the Church as the people of God, a human embodiment of the Gospel that spans an array of cultures and classes.

Field Hospital on the Border(s): A Church in Kinship with Migrants” 

Keynote Speaker: Kristin Heyer, Ph.D. Professor, Religious Studies, Santa Clara University
Panelists: Mark Potter, Ph.D. Assistant for Social Ministries, California Province of the Society of Jesus and Patty Repikoff, D. Min., Pastoral Advocate for Mission, Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington.

February 19, 2015

Pope Francis has offered a compelling model of church as “field hospital,” calling Catholics to engage those who suffer wherever they may be found. Kristen Heyer, Ph.D. examined this model, one which calls Catholics to engage not only with personal issues but with social issues as well, particularly the exploitation, violence and family separation faced by migrants in America. 

Panelists explored how local faith-based and community organizations—specifically the Kino Border Initiative and ministry to Latino communities on the eastside of Seattle—serve as “field hospitals” for migrants in Washington and California.

"A Poor Church for the Poor" 

Keynote Speaker: Jeanette Rodriguez, Ph.D., Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, Seattle University

Panelists: Ben Curtis, Ph.D., Director, Poverty Education Center, Seattle University and Gary Zender, Archdiocese of Seattle Vicar’s for Charities and Board of Trustees Chair for Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington 

November 3, 2015

Jeanette Rodriguez, Ph.D. explored the pre and post-Vatican II development of what we now call, “the option for the poor.” Drawing on the conclusions of the Second General Council of Latin American Bishops at Medellin, where bishops emphasized the structural roots of poverty and power in Latin American, Rodriguez reflected on the Catholic Church’s teachings on material poverty, spiritual poverty and voluntary poverty, particularly in light of Pope Francis’ call to be a “poor church for the poor.”

Panelists discussed about the steps taken locally—at Seattle University and in communities around Seattle—to address both systemic roots of poverty and the immediate needs of the marginalized.