Russert to Usher in 2003-04 'Church' Series

Russert to Usher in 2003-04 'Church' Series

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer
The University's Church in the 21st Century initiative kicks off its second year later this month with NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert moderating a "Meet the Press"-style panel discussion on the direction of the Catholic Church.

The title of the program, which takes place on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Conte Forum, reflects the hopeful theme of the second year of the BC series that has addressed the crisis in the Church: "Toward Renewal: What Have We Learned? Where Are We Going?"

Confirmed panelists include New York Times religion columnist Peter Steinfels; Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities USA and former head of Harvard Divinity School; and Sister Mary Johnson, SND, associate professor of sociology and religion studies at Emmanuel College, and co-author of Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice.

Faculty members Thomas Groome (left) and Paul Mariani will lead two Church in the 21st Century events this fall.
University President William P. Leahy, SJ, will deliver opening remarks.

As many as 4,000 are expected to attend the lead-off event of this year's series. Admission is free. Registration is required, and will be taken through Sept. 10 at the Church 21 website.

Boston College initiated the Church in the 21st Century project last year as a response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, and as a means to explore related issues while providing a forum and resources to assist the Catholic community in seeking renewal. During its inaugural year, the project attracted thousands of visitors to campus for various events, including lectures by author Garry Wills and Pope John Paul II biographer George Weigel, and a panel discussion on the media's coverage of the crisis with several BC faculty members and representatives from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and WBZ-TV.

Events being held this semester in conjunction with the Church in the 21st Century include an Oct. 2 lecture by Institute for Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry Director Prof. Thomas Groome (Theology) titled "What Makes Us Catholic" and a two-part discussion on the theme "Adventures of Faith" with Theology Professor Fr. Michael Himes and University Professor in English Paul Mariani.

The Sept. 18 event will be webcast live on the Church 21 site.

For more on The Church in the 21st Century and its related events and programs, visit the project Web site at


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