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School of Theology and Ministry

December 2013
Speakers at Vatican II Symposium

The Legacy of Vatican II


Marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 150th anniversary of the founding of Boston College, the School of Theology and Ministry on September 26 convened “The Legacy of Vatican II,” an invitation-only symposium of distinguished scholars from around the world who have studied Vatican II from theological, historical, and cultural standpoints. It was followed that evening by “Coworkers in the Vineyard: The Role of Catholic Laity in the Life of Public Service and Scholarship,” a panel discussion open to the public in Robsham Theater.

The symposium, held in Gasson 100, included panel discussions on “Jesuits and the Second Vatican Council” (moderated by STM Dean Mark Massa, S.J.); “Continuity and Change in the Second Vatican Council” (moderated by Andrea Vicini, S.J., associate professor of moral theology at STM); and the “Council and the Public Arena” (moderated by Massimo Faggioli, assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas).

Massa opened “Coworkers in the Vineyard,” asking “What questions are on the minds of practicing Catholics today?” Panelists Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director of NETWORK in Washington (and organizer of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour); E.J. Dionne Jr., journalist and Washington Post columnist; Thomas H. Groome, STM professor of theology and religious education; Jane McAuliffe, recently retired president of Bryn Mawr College; and Timothy P. Shriver, president and CEO of the Special Olympics, offered a range of observations and at least two points of consensus: that the Church should listen as well as speak to Catholics; and that Pope Francis deserves praise for advancing the expansive legacy of Vatican II. Boston College Chronicle reports » View video »

STM Professors Chris Matthews, Randy Sachs, SJ, and Nancy Pineda-Madrid

STM faculty collaborate on Hope


Hope is central to the Catholic vocabulary, says STM Professor of Systematic Theology Richard Lennan. “But often it’s a word we use somewhat vaguely.” With that in mind, Lennan, Nancy Pineda-Madrid (pictured, right), associate professor of theology and Latino/Latina ministry, and 14 STM faculty members collaborated on Hope: Promise, Possibility, and Fulfillment, a collection of essays edited by Lennan and Pineda-Madrid and published in November by Paulist Press.

Chapters explore the expanding roles of women and Latinos in the Church, the challenge of sustaining faith through tragedy, and the environment, among other topics.

“What we tried to do is give a really solid grounding in how hope applies to Christian faith,” Lennan said. “We connect things through the God whom we know in Jesus Christ, and specifically in what follows from the death and resurrection of Jesus.”

The contributors met frequently to choose the book’s themes: Grounding Hope, Nurturing Hope, Sustaining Hope, and Living Hope. They wanted to make sure it was not just a collection of disparate essays but also a unified work that drew on the faculty’s breadth and depth of expertise, said Lennan.

With 80 people crowding the book launch in the Heights Room in Corcoran Commons last month, every copy on hand sold out fast, said Pineda-Madrid.

“It’s a rich, rich topic,” she said. “Our school is looking toward the future in terms of the Church and its theology as well as the ministry that we’re hoping to work toward with our students here. The book is an opportunity to provide a vision of what that could be.”

Mark Massa, SJ and Dan Harrington, SJ

Paying tribute to a teacher and scholar


More than 100 friends, family members, colleagues, and STM students gathered in the Cadigan Alumni Center atrium November 21 to pay tribute to Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. (pictured, left). The beloved professor, New Testament scholar, author of 59 books, and 41-year editor of New Testament Abstracts (NTA) will retire from teaching at the end of the academic year.

STM Dean Mark Massa, S.J. (pictured, right), and Associate Professor of New Testament Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., welcomed the crowd and introduced the program by citing some stand-out statistics from Harrington’s 49-page bibliography. (He has, for example, written 50,000 abstracts and 25,000 book notes.) Harrington sat in the front row with his brother Ed and listened as a fellow scholar, a former student, and his 28-year editing partner offered reflections.

Rev. Frank Matera, the Andrews-Kelly-Ryan Professor of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America, called Harrington “the premier treasurer of American Catholic biblical scholarship.” He thanked Harrington for his three central contentions on sacred Scripture: the New Testament is not anti-Jewish, Second Temple Judaism is the “proper matrix” to study early Christianity, and the New Testament conveys theological meaning.

James Martin, S.J., M. Div. ’98, Th.M. ’99, editor-at-large for America magazine, lauded his former teacher’s pedagogical gifts of “clarity, patience, and kindness.” When he was a student at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Martin said, his classmates urged him to take as many courses with Harrington as possible. “If Dan is teaching a class on how to change a tire, take it,” he recalled a fellow Jesuit saying.

Since taking Harrington’s Introduction to New Testament course, Martin said, “I feel like I see the Gospels through Dan’s eyes,” a perspective that is “sensible, modest, curious, just, balanced, generous, but above all faithful.”

“Dan is a kind person, that’s what I most admire about him,” Martin continued. When Martin struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome, he asked Harrington if he could take his Suffering and Salvation final exam orally. “I was ashamed,” he said. But to his surprise, Harrington said, “That would be fine, Jim. But I will really miss reading your papers.” The best-selling author has dedicated his 2014 book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, to Harrington.

Christopher R. Matthews, a research professor at STM and co-editor of NTA, gave the last tribute. Matthews said he signed on in 1986 to fill in for one year at NTA. He has stayed because he considers it a “great privilege to rub shoulders with Dan every day.”

The two work in connecting offices on the second floor of 9 Lake Street, where they distill the contents of more than 500 journals and publish three 250-page issues of NTA each year. On top of producing the journal, teaching, and celebrating Sunday Mass at St. Agnes, his hometown parish in Arlington, Mass., Harrington has also written 21 books since 2000, Matthews noted. “He can do what he wants to do the first time,” he said. “Who else does that?”

Harrington, who spoke briefly after Matthews, offered an answer: “The old saying, ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life’ certainly applied to me. It’s all been a joy.” Boston College Magazine reports on NTA »

BC President Father Leahy presiding at Mass

On campus


  • Lumen et Vita, STM’s student academic journal, published its third issue in December. Read journal »
  • Boston College President William P. Leahy, S.J. (pictured), joined the STM community at its weekly liturgy and repast. He was the principal celebrant at the November 14 liturgy for the memorial of St. Joseph Pignatelli, S.J.

Save the date

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

Faculty news

Khaled Anatolios presented “A Patristic Reflection on the Nature and Task of Theology in the New Evangelization” at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ conference “The Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization: Catechesis and Theology” in Washington, DC.

John F. Baldovin, S.J., published “The Development of the Liturgy: Theological and Historical Roots of Sacrosanctum Concilium” in Worship. He also gave a series of lectures on the Vatican II Liturgy Constitution at six universities in the United States and Canada.

Georgetown University Press published Handbook of Roman Catholic Moral Terms by James T. Bretzke, S.J. Bretzke also published “Teaching Cross-Cultural Ethics in a Context of Pluralism & Multiculturalism: Teaching Where Religion and Ethics Intersect” in Journal of Ecumenical Studies. He gave a presentation on Pope Francis in Ayer, Mass., and has been interviewed by numerous media outlets for news stories on a variety of topics, including Pope Francis, the canonization process, and Catholic colleges and health care coverage.

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., published an essay, “‘Election’ in Genesis 1,” in The Call of Abraham: Essays on the Election of Israel in Honor of Jon D. Levenson. He also participated in a panel discussion on Jewish-Christian dialogue and sacred texts at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Richard Lennan published “‘Narcissistic Aestheticism’? An Assessment of Karl Rahner’s Sacramental Ecclesiology” in Philosophy and Theology. Now You Know Media issued Lennan’s Understanding the Theology of the Church, a lecture series on DVD.

Mark Massa, S.J., gave a talk on “The Polarization of American Catholics and the New Pope” at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He also spoke on the “Five Things the Catholic Church Must Face Today” as part of the Deans Series for BC alumni.

Christopher R. Matthews contributed a chapter to The One Who Sows Bountifully: Essays in Honor of Stanley K. Stowers. He also spoke at the presentation of the Festschrift in Baltimore, Maryland.

Catherine Mooney gave the Alan J. Dash Lecture at The University of North Carolina, Wilmington, on “Hildegard of Bingen: Her Life and Afterlives.” She also gave two presentations to St. Mary–St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Charlestown, Mass.

Theresa A. O’Keefe presented “Competing Value Worlds: The Felt Reality of Emerging Adults” at the Association of Youth Ministry Educators’ annual conference in Chicago. She also led a colloquium at the Religious Education Association’s annual conference.

Liguori Publications published Hosffman Ospino’s latest book, Evangelización y catequesis en el ministerio hispano: Guía para la formación en la fe (Evangelization and Catechesis in the Context of Hispanic Ministry: A Guide for Faith Formation). Ospino also had two essays published and gave numerous academic and pastoral presentations throughout the country. He convened and facilitated a meeting in New York to discuss strategies to better support Hispanic ministry initiatives nationwide.

Barbara Quinn, R.S.C.J., was elected to a three-year term to the governing board of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality. 

The Pastoral Review published the fourth and fifth installments of the five-part series “New Testament Portraits of Faith” by Thomas D. Stegman, S.J.

Andrea Vicini, S.J., contributed two chapters to Protecting Nature, Saving Creation: Ecological Conflicts, Religious Passions, and Political Quandaries (Palgrave Macmillan) and published two articles. He lectured at the Vatican Pediatric Hospital in Rome and gave three public presentations at Boston College.