Two members of the Thomas Aquinas College teaching faculty, Dean Brian T. Kelly and Tutor Katherine M. Gardner, participated in a gathering of theologians this past weekend at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Conference Center, sponsored by the Most Rev. José H. Gomez. The event included theologians from all the Catholic colleges and universities in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — St. John’s Seminary, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary’s College, and Thomas Aquinas College. Its purpose was to discuss the implications of the New Evangelization on college campuses.
Specifically, attendees focused on the three following questions:
- How does your faith and the Catholic identity of the institution where you serve inform your teaching, thinking, and research?
- What are the implications of the New Evangelization for young people of today as you meet them in the class and on campus? Can it help our students come to a deeper faith and a way of life rooted in values that transcend the merely material?
- In what ways do your aims in the classroom have a connection to promoting the New Evangelization?
The gathering began with the Archbishop’s opening prayer and welcome, followed by small discussion groups of about six scholars each. “I had the good fortune of sitting at Archbishop Gomez’s table for the small-group discussions,” remarked Dr. Kelly. “I was struck by the thoughtfulness of his questions and his obvious concern for both the quality of theological scholarship in the Archdiocese and the success of the New Evangelization in the lives of the faithful.” The full group then discussed the smaller groups’ findings, before reconvening for a reception and dinner at the Archbishop’s residence.
A new member of the College faculty who earned her doctorate in theology at Ave Maria University last year, Dr. Gardner welcomed the opportunity to interact with her fellow theologians. “Meeting together, in the presence of our bishop, was a beautiful physical reminder of the close and essential connection between the teaching Church and our charge as teachers of the Faith,” she said. “Our mission of teaching belongs to the Church, and exists to serve Her in our students.” Added Dr. Kelly, “We are very pleased to be working with Archbishop Gomez in his initiative to further the New Evangelization here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”