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School of Theology and Ministry

Amici in Domini

From the Dean

Mark Massa, S.J.

Dear alumni and friends,

This fall, the School of Theology and Ministry began its eighth academic year at Boston College. As a professional school and as a faculty, we remain committed to preparing students for leadership roles in service to the Church and the world through rigorous academics, ministerial and scholarly training, and spiritual and personal development.

In addition to 135 new students, we welcome four new faculty—all outstanding scholars—to the STM community this fall. As their brief profiles in this issue of Amici show, they are a group of men and women whose research interests and specialties add luster to an already stellar faculty that is one of the country’s largest at a Catholic theological school.

While Pope Francis didn’t get up to Boston on his first papal visit to the U.S., the STM was proud to cosponsor “Our Common Home: An Ethical Summons to Tackle Climate Change,” a four-day conference at Boston College that examined the global impact of Laudato Si’ on faith, environmental policy, theology, and ethics. A highlight of the fall semester, the conference featured papal advisor Cardinal Peter Turkson, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, and other distinguished speakers.

We value our relationships with STM alumni and friends, and we are eager to keep in touch. If you’re on campus or in town on a Thursday, I invite you to join us at our Thursday liturgy and lunch; we’d love to see you and find out what you’re up to.

All good things to you,

Mark S. Massa, S.J., Dean

New faculty at the STM

Thomas H. Groome and Jane Regan

This fall, the STM welcomed four scholars to its Ecclesiastical Faculty: André Brouillette, S.J., M.Div. ’08, S.T.L. ’09, assistant professor of theology; Brian Dunkle, S.J., S.T.L. ’10, assistant professor of historical theology; Angela Kim Harkins (pictured, above), associate professor of New Testament; and Franklin T. Harkins, associate professor of Church history.



A response to the pope’s encyclical on climate change

Cardinal Peter Turkson

In late September, the School of Theology and Ministry joined departments, divisions, and organizations across campus as a cosponsor of “Our Common Home: An Ethical Summons to Tackle Climate Change,” a four-day, interdisciplinary conference inspired by Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on climate change, “Laudato Si’ (Blessed Be): On Care for Our Common Home.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson (pictured), president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, drew a capacity crowd of more than 600 people on September 28 to Robsham Theater, where he delivered the Canisius Lecture, “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Planet.” The cardinal, who is a chief advisor to Pope Francis, spoke of the pope’s confidence that the crisis “can be overcome, not by more of the same, but by true changes arising from generous dialogue and fundamental ethical and, indeed, spiritual decision making on every level”—or, as the encyclical puts it, an “ecological conversion.”

Cardinal Turkson pointed out that concern for our environment’s well-being is not a recent development for the Catholic Church; on the contrary, “the Christian commitment to care for our common home is as old as Genesis or Scripture itself.” However, he went on to emphasize that the encyclical, while rooted in spirituality and the tradition of Catholic social teaching, is a call to practical action and policy change. “The pope calls most forcefully for responsibility, for decisiveness, and for implementation,” Turkson said.

More than 1,600 people attended the conference, which ran from September 28 to October 1. Speaking before Turkson on Monday, United States Senator Edward Markey (D. Mass.) inaugurated the event with a lecture on the economic and moral imperative for U.S. climate action. He was followed by John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s chief science and technology advisor, who elaborated on climate science.

The second and third days of the gathering focused on the upcoming COP 21 Climate Conference and the theology and ethics of sustainability. On Thursday, Tufts University Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Julian Agyeman gave the keynote lecture, “Toward Just Sustainabilities,” bringing the conference to a close.

Daniel DiLeo, M.T.S. ’13, a Ph.D. student in theological ethics and member of the conference’s planning committee, was among those invited to hear the pope’s remarks at the White House. “Francis talks about the need for dialogue with respect to issues in ecology precisely because they’re so interdisciplinary,” DiLeo said. “That’s what we are trying to embody with this conference.”



Upcoming Event

Loss, Change, and Resilience in Communities of Faith

Friday, November 6 | 10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Corcoran Commons, Heights Room

Presenter: Melissa Kelley, STM associate professor of pastoral care and counseling and codirector of supervised ministry


A look inside the Lumen et Vita conference

Lumen et Vita video

Lumen et Vita, STM’s graduate student journal, hosted its second annual conference in January and selected from the papers presented there to publish its fifth journal, released this fall. Take a look inside the conference and hear from students and faculty about how the experience helps prepare students for academic and ministerial careers.

Read Lumen et Vita »
View a video about the conference »

A fragile world belonging to all

A fragile world belonging to all - photo of Earth from space

On view through December 18, 2015, at the Boston College Theology and Ministry Library Atrium Gallery, A Fragile World Belonging to All draws together passages from Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ with a selection of related imagery. The exhibit, cosponsored by STM and the Boston College University Libraries, invites reflection on the concerns, challenges, hopes, and call to action for the care of our common home so powerfully expressed in the encyclical.


On campus

THE 2015 STM SUMMER INSTITUTE DREW 216 STUDENTS from around the world for programs that included 13 on-campus courses, two online courses, and “Mapping Campus Ministry: Culture, Person, and Strategy”, a conference on Catholic campus ministry. Summer programming, which ran from May 18 through July 31, also featured the July 11 Evelyn Underhill Lecture by Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams and a talk by M. Catherine Hilkert, O.P., at the Seventh Annual Mary of Magdala Celebration on July 22.


Faculty News

John F. Baldovin, S.J., coedited Catholic Sacraments: A Rich Source of Blessings with David Farina Turbloom (Paulist Press). He published book reviews in Worship and Theological Studies and an essay in Serving Liturgical Renewal: Pastoral and Theological Questions. Baldovin was elected to the Council of Societas Liturgica in Québec City, Canada.

James T. Bretzke, S.J., gave interviews to several media outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Reuters, The Guardian, and PRI’s “The World,” and appeared on MSNBC, NECN, and WBZ. His article “Re-Reading the Tea-leaves of Moral Theology 50 Years after Vatican II” was published online as part of the “Vatican II and the Future Church” Internet conference.

Palgrave Macmillan published Philip Browning Helsel’s book Pastoral Power Beyond Psychology's Marginalization: Resisting the Discourses of the Psy-Complex. Helsel also contributed an essay, “Witnessing the Body’s Response to Trauma: Resistance, Ritual, and Nervous System Activation,” to Pastoral Psychology.

Hosffman Ospino presented “Going to the Outskirts: A Call to Catholic Educators” at the National Catholic Educational Association panel presentation in Philadelphia during Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. He also gave keynote presentations at the Eucharistic Congress of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, and the 2015 Convocation of the New England Conference of Diocesan Directors of Religious Education in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jane E. Regan presented a series of workshops about professional development and ongoing faith formation to teachers and catechists of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Andrea Vicini, S.J., received an award from the Science in Seminaries initiative at John Carroll University (University Heights, Ohio) to teach a course at the STM titled Human Genetics and Biotechnologies: Challenges for Science and Religion. He was also selected as a 2015–16 research fellow by the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. Vicini also published an article in Journal of Health Communication.