EAST AURORA — Leading national and international speakers, and top creative minds working in theology and philosophy, will converge on Christ the King Seminary on the weekend of Feb. 23-24 for the 2018 Conference for Collaborative Philosophy, Theology and Ministry. The conference's keynote speakers represent institutions from three continents - the U.S., Europe and Australia.
Father Joseph C. Gatto, president-rector of Christ the King Seminary, said the conference represents a watershed moment for the Diocese of Buffalo in the education of seminarians and the evolution of priestly formation not only in Western New York but throughout the U.S.
"This two-day conference will bring together a first-class, high-caliber team of scholars and ministers, along with prominent, acclaimed speakers who are engaged in many of the most exciting projects underway in contemporary theology," said Father Gatto. "It will equip our students, faculty and all attendees who are engaged in the church's many ministries - intellectual, pastoral and catechetical - with new theoretical resources for carrying out the mission to which they have been called by the Word and Spirit."
Keynote speakers for the conference include Christiaan Jacobs-Vandegeer, Australian Catholic University; Gerard Whelan, SJ, Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; Randall Rosenberg, St. Louis University; and Brian Bajzek and Eric Mabry, both of Christ the King Seminary.
Mabry, a full-time professor at the seminary, a Ph.D. candidate and the former interim director of the Lonergan Research Institute at Regis College in Toronto, said the event will advance and expand what Father Bernard Lonergan, SJ (regarded as one of the most important philosopher-theologians of the 20th century) called the "not-numerous center."
"Most conferences such as this are extremely introverted or inwardly focused, but our goal is to bring all participants into the conversation through dialog and intellectual discourse," said Mabry. "The goal is to promote sound, creative and constructive theology through the fostering of interdisciplinary and inter-contextual friendships."
Mabry said what is happening at Christ the King Seminary, in terms of this conference and the rigorous academic and spiritual path to priesthood resulting from the restructured pre-theology program at the seminary, is gaining national attention.
Bajzek, an adjunct professor at the seminary and a Ph.D. candidate at University of Toronto, said, "The conference's speakers all occupy a horizon of hope, overcoming contemporary challenges by incarnating the values of charity, creativity and collaboration. These speakers also all appreciate the importance of integrating theory and practice, and we hope the conference encourages conversation and fellowship between groups that often operate at a distance."
For more information, visit www.cks.edu or call Gayle Mann at 716-805-1438.