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School of Theology and Ministry

March 2014
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Remembering a singular teacher and scholar

Some 500 theologians, editors, students, colleagues past and present, and family members gathered at St. Ignatius Church on February 12 for the wake and funeral of Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. (pictured). Harrington, a premier New Testament scholar, editor, author of 59 books, and beloved professor at the School of Theology and Ministry (STM), died at the Jesuit infirmary of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus in Weston on February 7 after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 73.

“The humble scribe, whose life was a living sacrifice of service and praise of the Word he so loved, now knows the fullness of eternal life,” Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., STM associate professor of New Testament, said in his homily at the funeral Mass. Many others who knew Harrington also penned tributes, including longtime New Testament Abstracts co-editor and STM Research Professor of New Testament Christopher R. Matthews, student Matthew Janeczko, O.F.M. Cap., M.Div. ’13, S.T.L. ’14, and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University's Dean Thomas Massaro, S.J., a former STM faculty member. Obituaries appeared in the Boston Pilot and Boston Globe.

A native of Arlington, Mass., who earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and literature at Harvard in 1970, Harrington was ordained in St. Ignatius Church the following year. He became editor of New Testament Abstracts in 1972. Over the next 41 years, he wrote more than 20,000 book notices and 50,000 abstracts. “It is no exaggeration to say he knew more about what goes on in New Testament studies than anyone in the world,” Stegman said.

Harrington was renowned for his distinct New Testament scholarship—for blending academic and popular interpretations of Scripture, challenging anti-Jewish readings of the New Testament, and contending that theology should be rooted in Scripture.

“I love the Bible. I love scholarship about the Bible. I love preaching about the Bible. It’s what gets me up in the morning,” Harrington told Boston College Magazine last year. In the classroom, he was admired for his effortlessly articulate, concise, and self-described “old-style Jesuit teaching”—a pursuit he loved. In November, while his declining health kept him homebound at the Campion Center, he gave a lecture to 62 students in his Introduction to New Testament class via Skype.

Harrington stuttered as a child, Stegman noted in his homily. But he found comfort, and a calling, when he read in Exodus that God helped Moses with his own speech impediment. “This passage remained foundational and inspirational to Dan: God would help him speak. It made all the difference,” Stegman said.

Read tributes »

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STM students organize first annual Lumen et Vita conference

More than 130 students and a dozen STM faculty turned out for “The Gospel and Contemporary Culture,” a daylong conference coordinated by the editors of STM’s three-year-old graduate student academic journal, Lumen et Vita. Twenty-two student speakers considered contemporary Catholic issues that ranged from ministering to millennials to evangelization in a globalized culture at the February 8 gathering, which was held at STM on Boston College’s Brighton Campus.

STM Dean Mark Massa, S.J., welcomed those in attendance, and Boston College Theology Department Associate Professor Brian D. Robinette delivered the keynote on employing the Gospel’s message to subvert cultural violence.

The crowd then fanned out into four classrooms for presentations, discussions, and panels on pastoral theology, systemic theology, biblical studies, and moral theology. Several students focused on Pope Francis—Jillian Dunn, M.T.S. ’15, discussed his relationship with the millennial generation, and Craig Ford, Ph.D. ’20, explored how the Argentine Jesuit “won the heart of the LGBT Mainstream in America.” Other presentations included Christopher Welch’s (M.T.S. ’01, Ph.D. ’20) “God is My Coach: The Divisive Case of Ryan Hall,” about the evangelical American long-distance runner; “Beyond Complementarity: Theological Anthropology and Gender Studies in Dialogue,” from Elyse Raby, M.T.S. ’15; and explorations of capital punishment, a shifting Catholic identity, and ministry.

The group returned to room 100 at 3 p.m. for a panel on Pope Francis. Associate Professor of Theology (emeritus) Rev. Robert Imbelli, John Peck, S.J., S.T.L. ’15, and Mary Kate Holman, M.T.S. ’14, discussed the pontiff’s direction for the Church.

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STM welcomes Michael R. Simone, S.J.

Michael R. Simone, S.J., has joined the faculty as a biblical studies instructor. He is teaching Introduction to the Old Testament and Psalms this spring. The native Ohioan earned his B.A. from John Carroll University (1995) and his M.Div. and S.T.L. from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (2007 and 2008, respectively). He is finishing his dissertation, titled “On Fire: A Study of Divine Fire in the Religion of Ancient Israel,” at Johns Hopkins University, where he expects his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitics. Simone’s research interests include archeology and the religious imagination of ancient Israel, and he studies texts in 11 languages, including Ugaritic, Coptic, and Akkadian.

Third Annual Dean’s Colloquium on Religion and Public Culture

The Transformative Power of Faith: Responding to Pope Francis’s Call
Monday, March 31, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Robsham Theater, Chestnut Hill Campus
Cosponsored by STM and Catholic Extension

How do we put into action Pope Francis’s call to be advocates for the poor and agents of change? Lay and religious Catholics who have been honored nationally by Catholic Extension for their ministry will share stories about the work they do to transform the lives of people in some of America’s poorest communities. Read more »  Register »

 

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On campus

  • On February 4, STM hosted the second annual Boston Theological Institute Choirfest at St. Ignatius Church. Vocalists from Boston-area divinity schools, seminaries, and schools of theology and ministry performed music from different religious traditions. STM's Liturgical Choir (pictured), under the direction of Lynn Burns, performed Anton Bruckner’s Ave Maria with the Saint John’s Seminary choir.
     
  • "If Heaven Be Your Destiny! The World of American Catholicism, 1945–65" will open at the Theology and Ministry Library on April 1. Featuring images and artifacts from the John J. Burns Library Liturgy and Life Collection, the exhibit introduces younger Catholics and others to the pre-Vatican II world of U.S. Catholic religious piety and worship.

Faculty news

Khaled Anatolios gave a lecture, “Creation as the Grammar of Salvation in Athanasius of Alexandria,” at the fourth annual symposium in honor of Fr. Georges Florovsky at Princeton Theological Seminary.

James T. Bretzke, S.J., gave interviews to NECN, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, Catholic News Service, and other media outlets for news stories on Pope Francis, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, and Vatican affairs. He convened a session of the Society of Christian Ethics in Seattle, and reviewed Moral Evil by Andrew Michael Flescher in Catholic Books Review. Bretzke was the plenary speaker for a board retreat of the Convent School of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Conn.

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., presented “Finding Your Place in the Story of the Bible” at Boston College.

Mary Jo Iozzio, professor of moral theology, is STM’s newest tenured faculty member.

Richard Lennan contributed a chapter, “The Church as Mission,” to The Disciples’ Call: Theologies of Vocation from Scripture to the Present Day.

Mark Massa, S.J., was the Greenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow for 2013–14 at Trinity College, Hartford, where he gave a series of talks on American Catholicism today.

Catherine M. Mooney was invited to lecture to international scholars at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles on “Meditation and the Illuminated Miniatures of the St. Albans Psalter.”

The Journal of Religion and Health published Hosffman Ospino’s essay “Dimensions of Religiousness and Cancer Screening Behaviors Among Church-Going Latinas," coauthored with Jennifer D. Allen, John E. Pérez, Claudia R. Pischke, Laura S. Tom, Alan Juarez, and Elizabeth Gonzalez-Suarez. Ospino was invited by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization to an international seminar and consultation at the Vatican to discuss the current status of catechesis in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. He presented “Hispanic Ministry in the Twenty-First Century” at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas, and gave numerous pastoral presentations at meetings around the country, including the Mid-Atlantic Congress for Pastoral Leadership in Baltimore and the Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles.

Andrea Vicini, S.J., presented “Is Transhumanism a Helpful Answer to Contemporary Bioethical Challenges?” at ethics grand rounds at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and also gave two lectures at Boston College.