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Romero Days 2017

Biographies & Abstracts

John Francis Burke is currently a professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where he teaches American politics, comparative politics, political theory, religion and politics, and US Latino politics. Burke is a past director of the Catholic Social Justice Studies Program and the Rev. William J. Young Social Justice Institute at the University of St. Thomas, Houston and past executive director of the Wolfington Center for Catholic Social Teaching and Community Engagement at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. He is the author of Mestizo Democracy (Texas A& M University Press, 2002) and Building Bridges, Not Walls: Nourishing Diverse Cultures in Faith (Liturgical Press, 2016). Burke has published on political theory, multicultural relations, social justice, and religion and politics in journals such as The Review of Politics and Commonweal. He has also been a commentator for Texas media outlets in both English and Spanish and has extensive experience in church liturgy and in the development of multilingual choirs. He received his doctorate in government and international studies from University of Notre Dame in 1985.

Book presentation: “Building Bridges, Not Walls in a Time of Division

In their pastoral letter Many Members, One Body (1994), the Bishops of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston insist that “we cannot be content with diverse cultures simply co-existing at a respectful distance. The catholicity of the church demands that these diverse cultures engage one another in conversation and extended social and liturgical interaction.” My presentation of my book, Building Bridges, Not Walls: Nourishing Diverse Cultures in Faith (Liturgical Press, 2016) will suggest that to do pastoral ministry effectively in congregations comprised of both English and Spanish speakers, one has to grasp the differences in European-American and Latino spiritual imaginations that are increasingly intersecting in our parishes and can lead to conflict. Based upon this mutual understanding, I will suggest several practices that can be effective in integrating, not assimilating, diverse cultural groups in parishes. As a political scientist, I will close with the implications of intercultural ministry for engaging in just relations in an increasingly polarized politics in the world at large. Becoming “strangers no longer” (US and MX Bishops, 2003) in our pews can be a leaven for pursuing “unity-in-diversity” in a world rife with cultural clashes.

Peter Casarella is associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he teaches systematic theology and works with the doctoral program in World Religions and World Church. A Kellogg Institute for International Studies faculty fellow, he serves as the director of Latin American/North American Church Concerns. Widely published, he is the editor most recently of Cusanus: The Legacy of Learned Ignorance (Catholic University Press, 2006) and Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress (Eerdmans, 2015) and coeditor of A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (Eerdmans, 2011). His monograph Word as Bread, on the 15th-century humanist Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, will appear with Aschendorff Verlag in 2017. Casarella was the founding director of DePaul’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and served as president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States and the president of the American Cusanus Society. Currently, he is the president of the Academy of Catholic Theologians. He holds a PhD from Yale University.

Edgardo Colón-Emeric is assistant professor of Christian theology and founder of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. Colón-Emeric obtained a BS from Cornell University (1990), an MS from the University of Vermont (1994), an MDiv from Duke Divinity School (1997), and a PhD from Duke University (2007). An ordained United Methodist minister, he has served as pastor for Hispanic ministries in North Carolina. His research and teaching bring Wesleyan and Thomistic theology into conversation with questions emerging from the Hispanic and Latin American context. At present, he is working on a book on the theology of Óscar Romero. Colón-Emeric directs Methodist theological formation programs in Central America and Peru, and he is regularly involved in national and international dialogues between Catholics and Methodists.

 “The Transfiguration of El Salvador: Romero’s Source for a Pedagogy of Life”

El Salvador, the tiniest country in Central America, bears a name densely packed with ironies and hopes. The name has been lauded by its prelates as a sign of divine privilege. At the same time, the mystery of iniquity at work in conquistadors, dictators, deaths squads, and gangs has turned it to a plea, “Savior, save the Salvadorans!” One answer to this cry is found in Óscar Romero’s homilies on the theophany of Mount Tabor. From a rich palate of sources, Romero writes about an icon of the glorified humanity of Jesus that has the power to shed light on the dark sides of Salvadoran history, a history which has marked the very titular feast of the country, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Divine Savior of the World. Romero’s vision of the Divine Savior complements the recent pastoral letter, “I See Violence and Discord in the City,” written by the current archbishop of San Salvador in response to the ever-growing and seemingly inescapable spiral of violence sweeping the nation. The light of the transfiguration energizes the violence of love and informs a pedagogy of life which can lead to peace and reconciliation.

Roberto Morozzo della Rocca is professor of contemporary history at the Università degli Studi, Roma Tre, in Italy. He studies the relationship between nation and religion in Eastern Europe and Central America during Óscar Romero’s life. He has published a biography of the archbishop of San Salvador in both Spanish and English: Primero Dios. Vida de Monseñor Romero (Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2010) and Óscar Romero: Prophet of Hope (London: Darton, Longmam and Todd, 2015).

"The Christian Discipleship of Óscar Romero Towards His Death"

The presentation focuses on the last months of Monseñor Romero’s life. He was tormented by the spread of repression and violence. In spite of this, he spoke of hope and of God’s plan to save humanity. Romero knew that he was in serious danger. He said: “A pastor does not go away; he must stay to the end with his own.” Facing his probable killing, he reflected on martyrdom of the disciple of Christ and he trusted to the Father in prayer. Romero was often frightened but he confided in the help of God. As he wrote: “He assisted the martyrs, and if it is necessary I will feel that he is very close as I offer him my last breath.”

David Lantigua is assistant professor of moral theology/Christian ethics at the University of Notre Dame. Born of Latino immigrants, he received his PhD in 2012 from Notre Dame, where was a graduate fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. Subsequently, he taught at the Catholic University of America before returning to Notre Dame. Lantigua is interested in the judicious theological retrieval of fundamental moral concepts and ecclesial practices from the Christian tradition to address contemporary social issues. He specializes in late scholastic moral and political thought emerging out of the Salamanca school and the debates concerning the Spanish conquests of the Americas. Two current book projects explore the contested legacy of Latin/o Christianity in current discussions of just war, empire, race, religious violence, international order, and human rights. Another research project on the image of God elaborates a constructive notion of human dignity in an effort to bridge a morality of virtue and rights for Christian social ethics. His research and teaching interests also include modern Catholic social doctrine, Latin American theology, and comparative religious ethics.

"Archbishop Romero and the New Evangelization in Latin America"

In March 1983, Pope John Paul II introduced the theme of “la nueva evangelización” before the Latin American bishops gathered in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Americas. This paper presents Archbishop Romero as a singular disciple for the new evangelization, whose teachings and practices authentically disclose the liberating message of ecclesial faith. His twofold pastoral task of institutionalizing the preferential option for the poor and proclaiming the Gospel in an apostolic form recalls the original missionaries of Latin America, and points a way forward for the Church to witness Christ anew in history.

Michael E. Lee is associate professor of theology at Fordham University, where he is affiliated with the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute and teaches Roman Catholic theology, liberation theologies, Latin American and Latino/a theologies, Christology, and spirituality. He has served on the governing board of the Catholic Theological Society of America and as president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. One of his recent books, Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría (Crossroad, 2009), won the Princeton Theological Seminary’s 2010 Hispanic Theological Initiative Book Prize. In 2015–16, he received a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute for his current project on Archbishop Óscar Romero. Lee’s scholarly activity is complemented by a commitment to practical engagement. He has lived in a Catholic Worker inspired community, served as a liturgical musician, facilitated Spanish-language RCIA programs, and is on the board of CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador). He holds both a BA and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame, as well as an MA from the University of Chicago.

Jackie (Jacqueline) Maggiore is a retired social worker with an MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her career focused on parent support programs to prevent child abuse. She is the author of Vessel of Clay: The Inspirational Journey of Sister Carla (University of Scranton Press, 2010) and Aquí Quiero Estar: El Caminar solidario de la Hermana Carla con los pueblos de Chile y El Salvador (Ediciones Universidad Católica de Chile, 2012), based on her lifelong friendship with Sister Carla, and is coauthor with Donald J. Mueller of Fluent in Faith: The Gift of Mary McCormick (Marquette University Press, 2013), the biography of a Wisconsin laywoman who missioned in Bogota for 24 years. Maggiore is an active member of Maryknoll Affiliates and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Gesu Parish in Milwaukee, where she and her late husband Anthony raised their three children. As a volunteer, she helps Burmese refugee families learn English, prepare for citizenship, and deal with medical appointments and other challenges.

The Witness and Legacy of Sr. Carla, MM

“The Lord is calling me to be poor with His poor,”Maryknoll Sister Carla often proclaimed. She strove to live the Gospel in solidarity with the poor.

Carla arrived as a young Maryknoll missioner in Chile in 1964. By 1973 she and Sr. Ita Ford, MM had chosen to live in Santiago’s población La Bandera, enduring several grim years of the repressive dictatorship and struggling to help their neighbors survive. Colleagues remember Carla as fiery and forceful in her commitment to serving the “poor ole beat-up people” whom she loved. As one missioner shared, “She inspired all of us to greater faithfulness.”

Carla credited the faith of the poor of Chile and El Salvador for redeeming her own faith. She saw herself as a weak instrument for the Lord’s work and relied on a deep spirituality, turning to her image of the “Divine Circus Master” to overcome her self-doubts and emotional frailty, including bouts of depression. Her spirits dimmed when faced with the unrelenting suffering and repression of the poor. Her faith, friendships, and zany sense of humor sustained her.

In March 1980, Carla moved to El Salvador, inspired by Monseñor Romero’s call. Joined by Ita, they became the Emergency Refugee Team amidst extreme violence, working to bring women and children to safety. On August 23, Carla died in a flash flood accident. Her last act was to push Ita to safety.

Shortly before Carla’s death she wrote to friends in Chile: “So, the walk continues and the Lord of the Way leads each day with no map and no clear weather but rather fog and total trust. I leave the future in the Circus Master’s hands.”

The Salvadoran people pronounced Carla a “Martyr of Charity.” Villagers continue annual pilgrimages to the river where she died, and a statue of Carla stands in the village’s park in honor of the Salvadoran Martyrs.

Rev. Robert S. Pelton, CSC, is the founder and former director of Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC) at the University of Notre Dame, where he is professor of theology emeritus and a faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Pelton is also the director emeritus for both the Institute for Pastoral and Social Ministry and the Institute for Clergy Education. His attendance at several major meetings of Latin American pastoral leaders and his research on the Church in the region have led him to write extensively about the Council of Latin American Bishops. A Romero scholar, Pelton is responsible for several publications about the archbishop, including Monsignor Romero: A Bishop for the New Millennium (2004) and Archbishop Romero (2006). His film, Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero, received the Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film in 2012.

David B. Perrin, OMI, is a Roman Catholic priest and full-time professor at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He has been teaching Christian spirituality and ethics since 1995. He is the former president and vice-chancellor of St. Jerome’s University, a past president of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and the former dean of the Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. As a professional educator, academic speaker, and author, as well as a popular workshop and retreat director, he has given conferences, workshops and retreats on a range of topics in Canada, the United States, and Europe. He is the editor of Women Christian Mystics (Sheed & Ward, 2001) and author of For Love of the World (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Edwin Mellen, 1998) and Studying Christian Spirituality (Routledge, 2007). He holds a PhD from the University of Ottawa.

The Spirituality of Óscar Arnulfo Romero

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1917–1980) lived during a time of great political and civil turbulence. The local Roman Catholic Church, regrettably, did little to quell the suffering of its people. Romero, in the earliest part of his episcopacy and similar to the bishops around him, fell into this space of complacency. Quite remarkably all of this was to change for Romero in a radical way with the turn of events in 1977. At this time Romero changed from an introverted conservative to an outspoken champion of his people. This conference is a theological analysis, one of many possible others, of how such a change, such a conversion, can be framed within the tradition of Christian spirituality: in the clash of transcendence and history, that is, an understanding that God meets God’s people in the events of their lives—even tragic ones as is witnessed in the people of El Salvador—is conversion wrought. What is special about Romero’s conversion in the clash of transcendence and history is the similarity of it with the lives of those whom the Church has come to know as “mystics.” Romero, in the end, gave his all to become the very Face of God, for his own people but as importantly for those of Latin America and now for the whole world. The sign and spirituality of a mystic, martyr, and saint indeed.

Ana María Pineda, RSM, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, holds an MA from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and an STD from the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain, where her dissertation examined the Hispanic permanent diaconate in the United States. A native of El Salvador, Sr. Pineda is a past faculty member at the Catholic Theological Union and past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theology in the United States. In addition, she served on the boards of the Louisville Institute and the Bishops' Committee for Hispanic Affairs, among others, and is a founding member of the Hispanic Theological Initiative. Sr. Pineda joined the Santa Clara University faculty in 1997 and served as director of the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries from 1999 to 2005. She currently teaches courses on Hispanic spirituality and theology. She recently published Romero & Grande: Companions on the Journey (Lectio, 2016)

Book Presentation: “Romero and Grande: Companions On the Journey”

El Salvador’s Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while presiding at Mass in 1980. Three years earlier, Rutilio Grande, SJ, priest and friend of the archbishop, was also murdered for the same offense—speaking out for the poor and vulnerable.

Decades after his death, Romero remains a controversial figure in the life of the Church and in his homeland of El Salvador. For some, the announcement of his beautification by Pope Francis was joyful, for others troubling. The stories about these men have grown elusive and vague, but Salvadoran native and Sister of Mercy Ana María Pineda once again catapults these two martyrs into our collective consciences in an account that is both significantly personal and painstakingly researched during multiple trips to her homeland. As Archbishop Paglia said at the beatification of Archbishop Romero: “It is impossible to know Romero without knowing Rutilio Grande.”

“Understanding more fully their relationship is the special strength and contribution of this book. I recommend this book as an essential part of the living tradition of prophetic leadership in the Latin American Church.” — Robert S. Pelton, CSC, University of Notre Dame

Bishop Ricardo Ramírez, CSB, is bishop emeritus of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ordained in 1966 in Houston, Texas, he is a member of the Congregation of St. Basil. Pope John Paul II named him titular bishop of Vatarba and auxiliary bishop of San Antonio in 1981, and in 1982 he became the first bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he served until 2013. He was the US representative to the Fifth General Conference of Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil. Within the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Ramírez sits on the International Policy Committee, the Committee on the Liturgy, the Committee on the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, and the Committee on Hispanic Affairs. He formerly chaired the Committee on the Church in Latin America and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. He is the author of Power from the Margins: The Emergence of the Latino in the Church and Society (Orbis, 2016), and holds honorary doctorates from Neumann College, the University of St. Michael's College (Canada), and Siena Heights University.

Book Presentation: Power from the Margins: The Emergence of the Latino in the Church and Society

From his roots in Bay City, Texas, to his service as a priest and later Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Ricardo Ramirez’s life has unfolded against the struggles, the hopes, and the vibrant faith of the Latino Church. In Power from the Margins he traces the historic struggle of the Latino Church to find its voice and outlines a road map for the future. His reflections range from the role of the family and the promise of youth, to education, civil rights, and the challenge of immigration. Probing the profound faith that lives in the Latino Catholic heart, he explores the role of popular piety, devotion to Mary, and “liturgy as fiesta.” Concluding with reflections on the impact of Pope Francis, he echoes the Pope, calling on the whole church to come out of our comfort zones, to follow Jesus, and discover the power that lies at the margins.

“As few others can do, Bishop Ricardo Ramírez captures the drama and significance of the emergence of Latinos in US Catholicism and society over the past fifty years. This vivid memoir and theological/pastoral reflection covers a broad range of issues dear to the heart of ministers, educators, community leaders, and the wider community. This timely testament provides wisdom for all those seeking to grasp where Latinos are today and where they are going.” – Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, is the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and the head of Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinals. Ordained a priest in 1970, Cardinal Rodríguez is the first Honduran cardinal. He was appointed as the archbishop of Tegucigalpa in 1993 and served as president of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) from 1995 to 1999, where he was an advocate for human rights and the poor. Cardinal Rodríguez was also the spokesperson of the Vatican with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on the issue of Third World debt. He is the former president of Caritas International, a confederation of more than 160 Catholic relief organizations that work with the most vulnerable, regardless of race or religion. He was the 2002 recipient of the Kellogg Institute’s Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle of the Philippines, the recipient of the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Family Notre Dame Award for Human Development and Solidarity, is a consistent advocate for the poor and vulnerable. Ordained to the priesthood in 1982, he served as a parish priest and taught theology before earning a doctorate in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in 1991, with a dissertation focused on the development of episcopal collegiality during Vatican II. Pope John Paul II appointed Tagle a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission in 1997, and in 2001 he was named bishop of Imus, the Philippines. A decade later, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the 32nd Archbishop of Manila and, in 2012, named him to the College of Cardinals. Since 2015, the Cardinal has served as the president of Caritas International, a confederation of more than 160 Catholic relief organizations that work with the most vulnerable, regardless of race or religion. Tagle has also served as a member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

Rev. John Thiede, SJ, is assistant professor of theology at Marquette University. A Jesuit from the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, he earned his PhD from the University of Notre Dame in systematic theology. His dissertation, “The Reality of Martyrdom in the Christology of Jon Sobrino,” was advised by J. Matthew Ashley. His interests include martyrdom, Latin American theology, Christology, and political theology. He is currently working on articles on the future of liberation theology and the homilies of Archbishop Óscar Romero.

Todd Walatka serves as the assistant chair for graduate studies in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Specializing in contemporary Catholic systematic theology, his research focuses particularly on the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Latin American liberation theology. He also works in the field of pedagogy and pedagogical formation, both in his role as assistant chair for graduate studies and in his research. Two ongoing book projects explore the theme of mercy in liberation theology and the theological witness of Archbishop Óscar Romero. The courses he has taught most recently include: Foundations of Theology, The Church and the Poor, Introduction to Vatican II, Christian Traditions II, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, and Teaching Theology.

“Romero on the Witness of the Martyrs”

Óscar Romero presided at the funeral masses of six martyred priests during his time as Archbishop of San Salvador: Rutilio Grande (March, 1977), Alfonso Navarro (May 1977), Ernesto Barrera (November 1978), Octavio Ortiz (January 1979), Rafael Palacios (June 1979), and Alirio Macías (August 1979). Romero’s homilies on these occasions—as well as at later anniversary masses and in remembrances of countless others killed during his time as archbishop—represent crucial moments when Romero was faced with and sought to reveal to others the disturbing, enduring, and institutionalized presence of sin in his society but also maintained a note of hope and a positive seeking of the Kingdom of God. At these moments Romero offers with prophetic clarity his vision of the nature and mission of the Church: a Church which seeks the Kingdom of God by accompanying, engaging, and learning from the suffering, resiliency, and demands of the poor and oppressed. In the presence of the martyrs, Romero refuses a naïve optimism about the response of the powerful—including those in the Church—but nevertheless puts forth hope that the witness of the martyrs will lead the Church forward in history. This talk will engage Romero’s homilies on these occasions as a whole, but the second half of the session will be a group discussion of one homily in particular: “The Voice of Blood: Funeral Mass for Father Rafael Palacios,” June 21, 1979. Participants are encouraged to read this short homily in preparation for the discussion.

Damian Zynda is director of Ignatian Identity at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, NY. She holds a doctorate in systematic theology and Christian spirituality from the University of St. Michael’s College and the University of Toronto. Zynda is on the faculty in the Christian Spirituality Program and the Master of Ministry at Creighton University and St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. A spiritual director, Zynda is involved in the formation of spiritual directors and the supervision of spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition. She has given and directed retreats in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, and Ireland and has presented numerous workshops and lectures on spiritual direction, the supervision of spiritual directors, and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius locally and at national conferences. She is interested in the intersection of spirituality and psychology, and her first book, Archbishop Óscar Romero: A Disciple Who Revealed the Glory of God (University of Scranton Press, 2010), traces the spiritual development and psychological growth of Bl. Óscar Romero, articulating a spirituality of conversion that is both human and divine.

"The Transforming Effects of Persecution in the Life of Blessed Oscar Romero"

Choices reveal the truth of who we are, what we value, and with whom we stand.  Romero’s choices brought deepening intimacy with the divine and others; they also reigned down fierce psychological, ecclesial and political persecution.  Each persecution, an experience of the Paschal Mystery, radically transformed Romero. Grace, mediated through clinical psychiatry and spiritual direction, transformed Romero from one whose obsessive compulsive personality disorder made his life miserable, to a man of freedom and autonomy.  Grace, mediated through the suffering body of Christ, transformed Romero into a Bishop with the heart of Jesus. Grace, mediated through the suffering, disappeared and murdered Salvadorans, transformed Romero into a powerful prophet of social reform.  This presentation reflects upon the transforming effects of the persecution Romero sustained at the hands of ecclesial leaders who sought to discredit, humiliate and remove him as Archbishop of El Salvador.

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