More than 100 musicians gathered last week on the campus of the University of Notre Dame for its inaugural Sacred Music Conference.
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Pope Benedict XVI is in Beirut today (September 14), beginning a three-day visit to Lebanon and a Middle East region convulsed by religious violence ignited by the release of an online movie trailer which mocks the Prophet Mohammed. Gabriel Said Reynolds, Tisch Family Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, believes that the Pope’s visit couldn’t be more timely.
The University of Notre Dame’s inaugural Sacred Music Conference will be held Thursday through Saturday (September 13 through 15). The conference will feature sacred music from the Renaissance to the present day and will bring together composers, scholars, and conductors of sacred music to discuss, share, and perform their work. Several concert events are open to the public and free of charge.
The Chapels of Notre Dame, by Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology, and Matt Cashore, senior university photographer at the University of Notre Dame, has been published by University of Notre Dame Press. The book features a collection of some 200 full-color photographs taken by Cashore interspersed with Cunningham’s commentary on the theological, artistic, architectural, and historic dimensions of the 57 chapels embedded throughout Notre Dame’s campus.
The Eucharistic Liturgies: Their Evolution and Interpretation, by University of Notre Dame theology professors Paul F. Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, has recently been published by Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minn. The book concerns the historical development of the theology and liturgy of the Church’s most important prayer, from the early Christian communal meals to the diverse Eucharistic liturgies of Eastern and Western Christians.
A new book by political scientist and peace studies scholar Daniel Philpott makes the case for forgiveness and reconciliation as a way to achieve justice and lasting peace after violent conflict. Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation, recently released by Oxford University Press, explores the concept of reconciliation, which is deeply rooted in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, as well as in the secular restorative justice movement.
Like many other veterans, Michael Zacchea ’90 returned from service in the Iraq War after an injury and struggled at times to readjust to life outside of the military. Now, the English and classics major is helping other disabled American troops on the same return journey to civilian life.
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, has received two awards for recent publications from the Catholic Press Association (CPA). The awards, one for Father Groody’s book Gustavo Gutierrez: Spiritual Writings, and another for an article titled “A Theology of Migration,” which Father Groody wrote for America magazine, were announced last month at the CPA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
Jim Cavnar ’67 originally came to Notre Dame intending to get a degree in physics but his life has been less about studying forces than becoming one for good. The theology alumnus is a founder and president of Florida-based Cross International Inc. and Cross Catholic Outreach Inc., two Christian relief and development charities founded in 2001 to help the poorest of the poor worldwide. He has worked in Catholic and ecumenical ministries for 45 years and won this year’s Rev. Louis J. Putz, C.S.C. Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association and Notre Dame Senior Alumni.
Though the social barriers of race and gender were largely overcome during the last U.S. presidential campaign, religious affiliation (in this case, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism) is still a significant hurdle, according to a new study by University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor David Campbell and colleagues from Brigham Young University and the University of Akron.
Seven University of Notre Dame students and two faculty members traveled to Northern Ireland this spring to explore the role of digital technology in peace building. As part of a new Center for Social Concerns (CSC) seminar, the Notre Dame team worked with eight students from Lismore Comprehensive School, a Catholic school in Portadown, and four students from Lurgan Junior High School to help create a website. Lurgan Junior High is a Protestant school about 20 minutes from Portadown.
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research (AAJR). The AAJR is the oldest organization of Judaic scholars in North America, and fellows are nominated and elected by their peers. The group has approximately 100 members in the United States—and Anderson is one of a select few who are not Jewish.
Art. Sacred music. Medieval history. And the digital humanities. Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at Notre Dame, brings them all together in her current research on Hildegard of Bingen—research for which she has been recently awarded fellowships from both the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Adding to these accolades, Fassler, who co-directs the Master of Sacred Music program in the College of Arts and Letters, today received the 2012 Otto Gründler Book Prize for The Virgin of Chartres: Making History Through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press, 2010).
Prominent in both Greek mythology and Catholicism, the labyrinth remains one of the most enigmatic and elaborate structures in history. Notre Dame senior Maria Martellaro traveled to Italy and France this past summer in attempt to unravel this mystery for her senior thesis on the labyrinth and its role in late medieval religious architecture. “How did this [element of a] classical, very pagan myth,” she asks, “work its way into becoming a Catholic symbol?”
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, has received the 2012 Touchstone Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils (NFPC). In announcing the award, the NFPC, which represents 26,000 priests nationwide, praised Father Groody’s work in the Latino community and his scholarship in migration issues and theology.
José E. Limón, one of the country’s foremost scholars of Latino literature, has been tapped to lead the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). As the new director of ILS, he will hold the Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies. Timothy Matovina, a leading expert on Latino Catholicism, will serve as executive director of the institute, which is housed in the College of Arts and Letters. Both appointments take effect July 1, 2012. Established in 1999, the Institute for Latino Studies supports a variety of interdisciplinary initiatives to foster understanding of the U.S. Latino experience.
Notre Dame theologian Jean Porter has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Porter, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theological Ethics, specializes in Christian ethics and the history and interpretation of the natural law tradition in Catholic ethical reflection, particularly the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Before he was Pope Benedict XVI, before he was a cardinal and a Vatican bureaucrat, and before he was archbishop of Munich, the German priest and professor Joseph Ratzinger taught theology at the Universities of Freising, Bonn, Munster, Tubingen, and Regensburg, served as a theological consultant at the Second Vatican Council and wrote several widely acclaimed and influential books of theology. Touching on nearly every imaginable theological topic, that career, uninterrupted and even magnified by the theologian’s election to the papacy, will be the subject of a conference, God is Love: Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI, to be held at the University of Notre Dame March 25–27 (Sunday–Tuesday).
Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate professor of American Studies, has been appointed director of the University of Notre Dame’s Charles and Margaret Hall Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Announcing the appointment, John McGreevy, dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, praised Cummings as “one of the country’s most accomplished scholars of American Catholicism.”
Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, and his co-writer Carolyn Nystrom, a Chicago-based freelance writer, have won the 2012 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography for their book, Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Asia and Africa.
Phillip Sloan, professor emeritus in Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, is one of a series of philosophers, political scientists, and theologians invited to speak to the undergraduate students enrolled in a new course called On Human Dignity. A philosopher and historian of science, Sloan emphasizes that the concept of human dignity, the insistence that a human being is literally invaluable, is not only central to the social teaching of Roman Catholicism, but emerges from a philosophical tradition with ancient and pre-Christian Greek and Roman roots.
The University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) will host an international conference, Conceptions of Truth, focused on the nature of truth. The interdisciplinary conference, scheduled for April 12-14 (Thursday-Saturday), will bring 17 leading experts to McKenna Hall to address the subject of “the truth.” The conference will include discussion of ideas presented as well as less formal opportunities for scholarly interaction.
At the University of Notre Dame, a new online publication, Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization is intended both to celebrate and invigorate Catholic life and mission by exploring aspects of its theology, liturgy, teaching, community, and prayer.
A conference at the University of Notre Dame February 5 to 8 will bring together Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and Buddhists for four days to tell the stories of particularly admirable men and women from their respective faiths and traditions.
According to University of Notre Dame theologian and historian Timothy Matovina, “bold proclamations about Latino voters determining presidential elections have become a regular feature of political commentary.” Matovina, professor of theology and director of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, is the author of a recent history titled Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church. “In fact,” he says, “the electoral significance of Latinos is growing steadily, but not as exponentially as such commentaries suggest.”
By now, most people are aware of the environmental effects of air or water pollution; University of Notre Dame philosopher and scientist Kristin Shrader-Frechette has devoted herself to bringing to light a less known concern, the inequitable distribution of pollution’s human toll. “Polluters ‘target’ poor and minority communities to locate noxious facilities because they know that residents often are unable to defend themselves,” she says. For her efforts, Shrader-Frechette was recently awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership.
By many different measures, people who take religion seriously are different from the rest of society, says University of Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman. And different in a good way. “In fact, religiosity is the best predictor of any number of positive social outcomes,” he says. “Religious people are generally healthier, they give more to charities, they are much more likely to be involved in civic life, and they are much less likely to suffer from depression or mental illness.”
Statisticians quibble, but it is widely agreed that most Americans identify themselves as Christians, and it is inarguable that the Catholic Church is the largest of the Christian churches in the nation. More than half of the Catholics in the United States who are under the age of 25 are Latinos, and, due to birthrates and immigration, a majority of American Catholics will be Latinos by the year 2050. A new book by Notre Dame theologian Timothy Matovina closely considers the five-century-long history of Latino Catholics in America and how that history has affected them and their Church.
From Cairo to Kabul to New York City, the events shaping our world are informed by the deeply held religious beliefs of contemporary history’s major protagonists. So why is the dynamic role of religion in world affairs still such a hard academic sell in political science and international relations programs around the country? “I think if the field were to be proportioned according to what you see in headlines, religion would deserve a much larger place in the study of international relations,” says Daniel Philpott, who is associate professor of political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame and on the faculty of the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies.
Elizabeth Simari ’08, crosses Saint Peter’s Square on the way to and from work, shops at the Vatican’s grocery store, and has even had the Pope drop by her office. “It’s an amazing experience,” says Simari, who majored in Italian and English at Notre Dame and now works for the weekly English edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “I feel blessed to have these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”