New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church

An exploration of the American Catholic Church going forwardNCR50_logo2withborder_WEB.jpg

October 24, 2015
Lund Auditorium, Performing Arts Center
Dominican University
River Forest, Illinois

A conference sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, commemorating its 50th anniversary, in partnership with Dominican University

NCR’s founders were journalists whose first priorities were holding authorities accountable and being a platform for a free, open discussion of ideas. Solidly founded in an American culture, NCR has been a chronicler of society and the Catholic church for 50 years.

Through this uniquely American and Catholic lens, the conference will explore what might be on the horizon for the American Catholic church. Join us for this one-day event featuring Maria Pilar Aquino, S.T.D.; Bryan Massingale, S.T.D.; Jamie Manson and Joan Chittister, O.S.B.

Talk #1: Prof. Aquino tells NCR conference of transformative forces building a new, hopeful world
Talk #2: [Coming soon]
Talk #3: Conference asks: What might the new face of the church look like?
Talk #4: Chittister: Confront challenges, seize opportunities, build a new world


8:15-9:00 am: Registration

9:00 am: Welcome and opening prayer

9:30 am: Theology and Liberation: Deep Voices from the Global South                 
                   Maria Pilar Aquino, S.T.D.
                   In the current context of dominant global capitalism, new transformative processes have
                   emerged encompassing social and religious actors, mobilization initiatives, and
                   theological epistemologies, strengthening together the affirmation that another world is
                   possible. This presentation explores the contribution of the deep voices from the
                   South to those processes.         
10: 30 am: Break

10:45 am: U.S Catholicism and the "New" Civil Rights Movement:  Back to the Future?                 
                   Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D. 
                   The recent killings of African Americans --especially but not only unarmed Black
                   men -- by police and other officials have launched a renewed movement to address
                   systemic racism in our nation.  This presentation explores how this moment challenges
                   the Catholic faith community to face the "unresolved racism" in its own life, as well
                   as the opportunities for more engaged social reflection and justice ministry.                    

11:45 am: Introduction and award of of writing contest winner

12:00 pm: Lunch 
1:30 pm: What might the new face of the church look like?                   
                   Jamie L. Manson
                   While the “Pope Francis Effect” continues to be a popular phenomenon, the level of
                   disinterest in the institutional church continues to rise, especially among young
                   adults. By exploring some of the new models of church that have been emerging among
                   marginalized faith communities, this presentation will consider what forms of church may
                   be meaningful and relevant to new generations of Catholics.         

2:30 pm: Discussion among speakers and responders

3:15 pm: Break

3:30 pm: “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
                   (Mark 10:49 Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)                    
                   Jesus stills calls us despite all the distractions and issues in the world and church. The
                   way forward is rooted in the prophetic message of the gospel which calls (demands?
                   that we seek…) us to seek a new way of being church.   

4:15 pm: Closing and thanks

​4:30 pm: Mass for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Aquino_Photo_2015_small.jpgMaria Pilar Aquino, S.T.D., joined the University of San Diego Theology and Religious Studies faculty in 1993. Her primary areas of teaching and research are liberation theologies, social ethics, and feminist theologies, with special interests in intercultural approaches, conflict transformation, and religious peacebuilding studies. Currently, she serves both on national and international editorial boards of prominent theological journals.  Aquino has served as the first woman president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, of which she is also a co-founder. She is internationally renowned for her pioneering work in Latin American and U.S. Latina feminist theologies of liberation.


Massingale-small.jpgRev. Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D. received his doctorate in moral theology from the Academia Alphonsianum (Rome). He specializes in social ethics and teaches courses on Catholic Social Thought, African American religious ethics, liberation theologies, and racial justice at Marquette University. His approach to social ethics focuses upon the impact of religious faith as both an instrument of social injustice and a catalyst for social transformation. He is the author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Orbis, 2010), which received a First Place book award from the Catholic Press Association.


Jamie-M-small_0.jpgJamie L. Manson, columnist and NCR books editor, received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. She is editor of Changing the Questions: Explorations in Christian Ethics, a collection of writings by Margaret Farley (Orbis, 2015). Her writing has won numerous awards, most recently the 2015 Wilbur Award for Best Online Religion News Story. As a lay minister, Jamie has worked extensively with New York City’s homeless and poor populations.



A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Pa., Joan Chittister is a best-selling author of over 50 books and is a well-known international lecturer on topics of justice, peace, human rights, women's issues and contemporary spirituality in the church and in society. She presently serves as the co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a partner organization of the United Nations, facilitating a worldwide network of women peace builders, especially in the Middle East. Sister Joan has won 14 CPA awards for her books. Her most recent include Between the Dark and the Daylight (Random House), Two Dogs and a Parrot (Blue Bridge, October 2015) and In God’s Holy Light (Franciscan Media, September 2015). A biography, Joan Chittister: her journey from certainty to faith, by NCR’s Tom Roberts, was released this fall by Orbis. Sister Joan is the founder and executive director of Benetvision, a resource center for contemporary spirituality in Erie.