University President William P. Leahy, S.J., welcomed 15 U.S. Catholic bishops to Boston College on February 19 for a daylong seminar designed to help them better understand and implement Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), Pope Francis' 2016 apostolic exhortation on the family.

The event was the first of three—held on separate days at Boston College, the University of Notre Dame, and Santa Clara University—organized by BC Jesuit Institute Director and Canisius Professor of Theology James F. Keenan, S.J., with Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Blase Cupich and Vatican Prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell.

Building upon a related conference Fr. Keenan and Cardinal Cupich hosted at Boston College last fall, the programs cover topics that will “allow American bishops the opportunity to further their understanding and their pastoral implementation of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation,” Fr. Keenan said.

Topics at the private seminar included the reception to Amoris Laetitia, by the Church, the U.S. and canon lawyers; the challenges and opportunities it presents for various groups including Hispanic, Latino, and Black Catholics, middle and working class Americans, Millennials, and the religiously unaffiliated; a bishop's perspective; and the relationship of the papal document to pastoral care and parish life.

Presenters and participants from Boston College included Fr. Keenan, Monan Professor of Theology Lisa Sowle Cahill, Libby Professor of Theology and Law Cathleen Kaveny, Professor of Theology M. Shawn Copeland, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology Richard Gaillardetz, School of Theology and Ministry Associate Professor Hosffman Ospino, School of Theology and Ministry Associate Professor Jane Regan, and Associate Professor of Theology Brian Robinette.

Marquette University faculty members Conor Kelly and Kate Ward, who received doctoral degrees in theology from Boston College in 2015 and 2016 respectively, also participated.

The 15 bishops in attendance at the BC seminar included Bishop Joseph Bambera, Diocese of Scranton; Bishop John Barres, Diocese of Rockville Centre; Bishop Mark Brennan, Archdiocese of Baltimore; Bishop James Checchio, Diocese of Metuchen; Bishop Edgar da Cunha, SDV, Diocese of Fall River; Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Diocese of Savannah; Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis; Bishop Donald Kettler, Diocese of Saint Cloud; Bishop Peter Libasci, Diocese of Manchester; Bishop George Murry, S.J., Diocese of Youngstown; Bishop John Noonan, Diocese of Orlando; Bishop Gregory Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg; Bishop Richard Pates, Diocese of Des Moines; Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, Diocese of Springfield; and Bishop Dennis Sullivan, Diocese of Camden.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, and Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archdiocese of Atlanta, also spoke at the BC event.

At the two-day conference Fr. Keenan and Cardinal Cupich hosted at Boston College in October, two cardinals, 12 bishops and 24 other invited participants discussed what they called the "new momentum" that Amoris Laetitia gives local bishops to renew their pastoral practices toward families.

Read more about the seminar series for bishops in National Catholic Reporter.

—University Communications