A Catholic Bible ‘summit’ in challenging times

The Catechetical Office of the Archdiocese of NY has put on some big conferences the past few years for people who want to dig deeper into their Catholic faith.

But they really seem to have come up with something special this year on June 26.

The New York Catholic Bible Summit will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Fordham U’s Lincoln Center Campus.

The theme is “Living the Word of God in Challenging Times.”

The keynote address in English will be given by Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete (that’s him), an internationally known and high regarded theologian and writer  from Yonkers who has a good sense of humor and is a fine story-teller.

The keynote in Spanish will be delivered by Rev. Virgilio P. Elizondo, professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at Notre Dame.

Ticket info, directions, presenter bios — and whatever else you want to know — can be found HERE. The conference is being sponsored by the Catechetical Office, Fordham and the American Bible Society.

Here is a line-up of workshop presenters:

Rev. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, Ph.D., St. Agnes Church, New York City, En Espanol
Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, Ph.D., Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
Rev. Lawrence Boadt, CSP, Ph.D., Washington Theological Union, Washington, DC
Rev. Claudio M. Burgaleta, SJ, Ph.D, Fordham Univeristy, Bronx, En Espanol
Eleana Salas Caceres, FMA, Peruvian Epsicopal Conference, Lima, Peru, En Espanol
James Campbell, Ph.D., Loyola Press, Chicago
Rev. Virgilio P. Elizondo, Ph.D, Notre Dame University, South Bend, En Espanol
Bro. Ricardo Grzona, FRP, Ph.D., United Bible Societies of the Americas, En Espanol
ValLimar Jansen, OCP Publications, Portland, Oregon
Liana Lupas, Ph.D., American Bible Society, New York City
Rev. James Martin, SJ, America Magazine, New York City
Sr. Margaret Palliser, OP, Ph.D., Living with Christ, New London, CT
John Pilch, Ph.D., Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Rev. Timothy Scannell, Ph.D., St. Joseph Seminary, Yonkers

A Catholic take on Tony Montana

If you’re a Catholic teen, how could you not want to attend this workshop: “Everything I ever needed to know about following Jesus I learned from Scarface and other Al Pacino movies.”

Scarface? I don’t get it. But I’m mighty curious.

scarface-photo-scarface-6229381The Pacino workshop will be part of a “youth congress” on Saturday, March 20 at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains. Hundreds of Catholic teens from across New York are expected to turn out.

A busy youth retreat leader named Tony Bellizzi will lead the Pacino talk (hopefully, without screaming).

There will also be a discussion of William Paul Young’s extremely popular book The Shack.

And there will be workshops on chastity (one for boys, one for girls).

Archbishop Dolan is scheduled to celebrate Mass at 2 p.m. And you know he will have plenty of jokes.

Says Cynthia Martinez, assistant director of Catholic Youth Ministry for the Catechetical Office of the Archdiocese of NY:

*****

Together with a very supportive committee we are planning a day that is sure to be very memorable to all of the youth that attend.  From the musical entertainment to the workshop presenters who will join us, this day is designed to motivate our students to bring “holy flavor” to the earth by recalling their call as Disciples of Christ, and by letting their light shine before others.  It is definitely an event our youth do not want to miss.

*****

It’s $20 per person, including lunch and a T-shirt. Only youth leaders can register, not individual teens. For info: go here or call 212-371-1000, ext. 2831 or email cynthia.martinez@archny.org.

On Saturday, adult catechists to gather at St. Joe’s Seminary

It’s often said that religious education ends for most people around the time that their braces come off.

This Saturday (June 6), the Cathechetical Office of the Archdiocese of NY will hold an all-day forum on adult faith formation at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.

The idea is to give support, ideas and training to pastors, educators and anyone in the parishes of New York who try to help adults grow in their faith.

Interestingly, the much of the conference will be presented in English and Spanish, as the archdiocese is increasingly becoming an Hispanic church.

Jerry Galipeau, associate publisher at World Library Publications, will give the English keynote. He presents workshops around the country on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, liturgical spirituality, ritual music, evangelization, and adult spiritual formation.

Sr. Maria Luz Ortiz, national consultant for Catechesis for Hispanic Catholics for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Religion Publishers, will deliver the Spanish keynote. She has been in the catechetical field for more than 35 years, serving in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, and parts of the United States. NOTE: HER APPEARANCE HAS SINCE BEEN CANCELED.

The conference will feature representatives of 16 of the lay ecclesial movements active in the archdiocese, including Worldwide Marriage Encounter, Lamp Ministries, Focolare, Cursillo, Pax Christi, the Neocatechumenate Way, and Communion and Liberation. Also, Maryknoll Bro. John Blazo and two affiliates will talk about their experiences as Maryknoll missioners.

For info or to register, visit www.Nyfaithformation.org or call 646-794-2692.

Tomorrow: adolescent catechesis workshop; lecture on Darwin and Christian belief

Here are two events you might want to know about taking place tomorrow (Friday, May 29):

First off, the catechetical office of the Archdiocese of New York will offer an all-day adolescent catechesis workshop at the Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson.

The program is called “Knowing Jesus, Growing as Disciples,” and is aimed at all Catholic educators who deal with adolescents.

It’s from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The price is $40 per person, including lunch. The Riverview is at 1 Warburton Ave.

For information or registration, contact Kathleen Alonzo at 212-371-1011, ex. 2864 or Kathleen.Alonzo@archny.org.

Second, the writer George Sim Johnston will speak at 7 p.m. at the Montfort Academy in Katonah about Christian views on the theory of evolution.

His lecture is called: “Did Darwin Get It Right? Christian Belief and the Theory of Evolution.”

He wrote a book with the same title in 1998. If you want a preview of what Johnston might say, I found an abridged version of a lecture he gave on the subject in 1999.

At the time, Johnston had great problems with classic Darwin:

*****

There are other serious problems with classical Darwinian theory. Among them are the fact that scientists see very little “struggle for survival” in nature (many species tend to cooperate and occupy ecological niches which do not compete); the fact that all the major body plans we see today in animals and insects appeared at once in the Cambrian era, a fact which does not fit Darwin’s model; and that many species like the lungfish have not changed at all in over 300 million years despite important shifts in their environment, which flatly contradicts the constant fine-tuning Darwin attributed to natural selection.

Darwin himself was increasingly plagued by doubts after the first edition of the Origin. In subsequent editions, he kept backing off from natural selection as the explanation of all natural phenomena. Darwin’s unproven theory nonetheless became dogma in the public mind.

*****

The Vatican hosted a major conference on evolution this year. And Pope Benedict XVI himself has talked about seeing no conflict between faith and the “much scientific proof in favor of evolution.”

In his 1999 talk, Johnston said this:

*****

The Catholic Church has never had a problem with “evolution” (as opposed to philosophical Darwinism, which sees man solely as the product of materialist forces). The Church has never taught that the first chapter of Genesis is meant to teach science.

Pius XII correctly pointed out in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950) that the theory of evolution had not been completely proved, but he did not forbid that the theory of evolution concerning the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for Catholic faith obliges us to hold that human souls are immediately created by God – be investigated and discussed by experts as far as the present state of human science and sacred theology allows.

In his catechesis on creation given during a series of general audiences in 1986, John Paul II stated that “the theory of natural evolution, understood in a sense that does not exclude divine causality, is not in principle opposed to the truth about the creation of the visible world as presented in the Book of Genesis.” He hastened to add that “this hypothesis proposes only a probability, not a scientific certainty.”

The Church’s quarrel with many scientists who call themselves evolutionists is not about evolution itself, which may or may not have occurred in a non-Darwinian, teleological manner, but rather about the philosophical materialism that is at the root of so much evolutionary thinking. The Church insists that man is not an accident; that no matter how He went about creating homo sapiens, God from all eternity intended that man and all creation exist in their present form.