September 30, 2016:
About the Conference and Speaker: From September 30-October 2, 2016, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative of the The Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union held its biannual Bernardin Conference at Techny Towers Conference & Retreat Center (Techny, Illinois). The conference focused on the entitled topic, "In the World and in the Church: The Identity of Catholic Institutions," wherein nearly 35 participants from Catholic Health Care, Social Services, and Education came together to discuss the present and future of this particular subject. On September 30, Rev. J. Bryan Hehir of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Archdiocese of Boston's Secretariat for Health Care and Social Services gave the opening keynote lecture, "Catholic Insitutions and Identity: Some History and Some New Questions."
About the Lecture: The national outreach of the Catholic Church has been focused on reaching a larger audience ever since the Church entered the United States' sphere of influence. Moving from an attitude of Christian normalcy in terms of the offering of goods and services in the American landscape, the Church has now become more focused on wider outreach to all peoples, nationalities, religions, and language groups. Using two documents from the Second Vatican Council and the approaches of two recent pontiffs, Rev. J. Bryan Hehir weaves, exquisitely, the framework of Catholic identity in American culture today with the particular institutions that provide such a vibrant, inclusive, and prophetic model to all who serve and are served by the Church.