EAST AURORA — Leading national and international speakers and top creative minds working in theology and philosophy will again converge on Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23 for the 2019 International Conference for Collaborative Philosophy, Theology and Ministry.
Keynote speakers for the second annual conference include Jennifer Newsome Martin, University of Notre Dame; John Dadosky, Regis College, University of Toronto; Leonard DeLorenzo, University of Notre Dame; and Ryan Duns, SJ, Marquette University.
Event organizers Eric Mabry, Ph.D., and Brian Bajzek, Ph.D., both theology professors at Christ the King Seminary, said the conference was founded last year to promote and expand horizons of hope through the fostering of cross-disciplinary collaboration and the formation of inter-institutional and inter-contextual friendships. It seeks to bring philosophers, theologians, and ministers together within an environment of mutual exchange and a shared commitment to life-long learning and ecclesial discipleship.
Bajzek said the conference began, in part, "as a response to the ever-escalating degrees of polarization in the world and in the church insofar as the proliferation of 'camps' and the ossification of 'sides' has done great harm to philosophy, theology and ministry.
"Such polarization truncates people's horizons for carrying out the mission of the church, which is called to be universal and catholic," Bajzek further explained. "As such, the conference was founded to bring healing to this situation by concretely transfiguring particular horizons through dialogue, fostering the intellectual liberation by which we more freely cooperate with each other and the Holy Spirit." According to Mabry, "The conference seeks to enflesh the Christian community and embody the charity of the Holy Spirit on campuses and within parishes, elevating the level of discourse through shared research, joint ventures, and multi-institutional collaboration. Through these efforts, we hope to incarnate an ongoing response to the papal call for universities and other ecclesiastical institutions of higher learning to be agents of change and cultural formation.
"The conference also seeks to realize its intellectual vision concretely and locally within the Diocese of Buffalo at one of its major educational centers," said Mabry. "Emphasizing the importance of grounded, empirical and interpersonal praxes, we intend to equip all those 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."
Father John Staak, OMI, interim president-rector of Christ the King Seminary, notes that, "Today's challenges in the Church require an intentional, collaborative reflection of experts from the distinct, but related fields of philosophy, theology and ministry. This dialogue is critical to help us re-envision the Gospel call to a discipleship of holiness and service."
Mabry and Bajzek said they look forward to building on the excitement by enriching insights and exchanges, and the fellowship that was shared at last year's event.
The conference is funded in part through The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and private donors, and is co-sponsored by the International Institute for Method in Theology.
For additional information, visit www.cks.edu or call Gayle Mann at 716-805-1438.