Dec. 2, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 7

New Jersey native Kristin Offermann '08 and fellow undergraduates waited outside 21 Campanella Way for buses taking them to catch their flights at Logan Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Around Campus


The Passion: Another look

The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning has released its first sponsored publication, a collection of essays that explore historical and contemporary topics reflected by the controversial Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ."

Pondering the Passion: What's at Stake for Christians and Jews? was edited by the center's executive director, Philip Cunningham, and includes articles by Cunningham and several other Boston College faculty members as well as scholars from other American colleges and universities.

The volume stems from a speakers' series held last winter at Boston College that examined the depiction of the death of Jesus throughout history, and how Christian-Jewish relations have been influenced as a result. Many of these issues were reflected in the public and media discussion over Gibson's film, Cunningham said last week.

"The book, like the speaker series, was catalyzed by the movie, but is not focused on the film itself," he said. "There are matters which clearly go beyond the relatively short life of a film's release and theatrical run."

Introducing the book, Cunningham writes, "Since the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning is devoted to the development and implementation of new relationships of mutual enrichment between Christians and Jews, it was only natural that my Boston College colleagues and I would be interested in the public pondering of the Passion and its impact on Christian-Jewish relations.

"We are delighted to be joined by friends from other universities in this volume's consideration of the meaning of the Passion for Jews and Christians. The recent widespread discussion has brought to light several important realities. What's at stake for Christians and Jews when the Passion is discussed?"

Organized in five parts, the volume first considers the first-century events surrounding Jesus' execution, then explores the New Testament presentations of the crucifixion. The book's other sections show how the passion has been portrayed in visual arts, music, plays, and film, summarize Catholic and Protestant theological approaches to the meaning of the cross for salvation and redemption, and ends with an assessment of "The Passion of the Christ."

Other BC authors are Fine Arts professors John Michalczyk and Pamela Berger, and Theology Assoc. Prof. Louis Roy, OP, and part-time faculty member Rev. Raymond Helmick, SJ.

The center's Web site,, provides more information on the book.

A drawn-out event

Members of the Boston College community who want to exercise their artistic talents will have plenty of opportunity at tomorrow night's "Drawing Marathon."

Art majors and non-art majors alike are welcome at the event, which takes place from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the fourth floor of Devlin Hall, headquarters of the Fine Arts Department and Art Club, the marathon sponsors. Live models will be on hand to pose for drawing, painting, sculpture and - with their permission - photographs.

This is the second Drawing Marathon, and organizers hope to make it a once-every-semester occurrence. "This is an event that takes place around many art schools, especially in Boston," said Elizabeth Amento '05, who credits Asst. Prof. Sheila Gallagher (Fine Arts) with the idea for starting BC's edition. "Though mostly art students do attend, we had a strong showing from the humanities last time, as well as many artists from around Boston."

Food will be available for any and all starving artists, and Amento says she hopes to add to the atmosphere with a live performance by a classmate's band.

For more information, contact Amento at

Author Jack Beatty answers a question from the audience during the Nov. 20 symposium "US Presidents in Perspective: The Shifting Fortunes of Presidential Reputations," held in Robsham Theater. Joining Beatty on the panel discussion one of three held during the event were (L-R) Tom Wicker, Kathleen Dalton and moderator Ellen Hume. (Photo by Justin Knight)


Faith and community

The Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry has received a three-year grant of $275,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation to support its new master's degree concentration in Total Community Catechesis, which will be offered beginning next fall.

Funds from the grant will provide for fellowships awarded to students with excellent academic standing who demonstrate leadership potential in religious education and parish catechesis. The fellowships will support tuition and living expenses for each of the two years that the student is enrolled full-time.

IREPM has been a national leader in Total Community Catechesis, a new, comprehensive approach to faith formation that engages the traditional structures of society - family, congregation and community - in the holistic and communal practice of Catholic faith.

"We are convinced that it takes a family and a village to form Christian identity, and IREPM's new concentration in Total Community Catechesis will prepare the leadership that can implement such a promising approach," said IREPM Director Prof. Thomas Groome (Theology). "We're very excited about the new possibility of a more communal approach to faith formation, and want to express our gratitude to the Luce Foundation for this generous grant and for their confidence in IREPM."


Fr. Sweeney recalled

Burns Library recently launched its fourth virtual exhibit, "Guests and Friends: Rev. Francis W. Sweeney, SJ, and His Contributions to Cultural Life at Boston College."

An inspiring teacher who mentored many Boston College student-writers over the course of five decades, Fr. Sweeney also was known as the founder and director of Humanities Series, the well-respected lecture series that continues to this day as the Lowell Lecture Humanities Series.

The Burns exhibit considers both Fr. Sweeney's role as the founder of the Humanities Series and the importance of the lecture series to Boston College. Over the years, thanks to the efforts of Fr. Sweeney and the Humanities Series, Boston College has been exposed to an amazing range of talent, including 22 of the Library of Congress's Poet Laureate Consultants and four Nobel Prize winners in literature.

Using materials drawn primarily from the Manuscript Department's Humanities Series' Director's Files and the Francis W. Sweeney Papers, the exhibit employs a combination of photographs and ephemera with descriptive text to describe Fr. Sweeney's efforts to enrich Boston College's cultural life through the Humanities Series.

The exhibit can be viewed through this URL:


Building an alliance

An annual award co-founded by the Boston College Center for Work and Family that recognizes outstanding research on work and family issues has a new supporter.

The CWF and Center for Families at Purdue University recently announced the Alliance for Work-Life Progress will sponsor the fifth and sixth annual Rosabeth Moss Kanter Awards for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

The two centers developed the Kanter Award - named for one of the most influential contributors to modern literature on work and family - to raise the awareness of high quality work-family research among the scholar, consultant and practitioner communities.

Founded in 1996, the Alliance for Work-Life Progress addresses work-life issues through publications, forums and professional development strategies. "Considering the criteria for nominee selection and the outstanding research produced by Kanter Award winners, sponsorship from an organization such as AWLP demonstrates their commitment to supporting academic research," stated the release announcing the new sponsorship.

The 2005 Kanter Award winners will be honored at the AWLP Conference in February.

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