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King’s Veritas Lecture series challenges paradigms

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  • October 22, 2021

In a world that is arguably becoming more depleted of humanity and solidarity, King’s University College in London, Ont., is providing a countering antidote via its Veritas Lecture Series for Faith and Culture.

“Our theme this year, Seeds of Hope, acknowledges that new life and opportunity often follow times of adversity,” said Deacon Jim Panchaud, the director of campus ministry. “By trusting in the wisdom that lies embedded within the community, we can collectively find a way forward into a future full of hope.”

Each speaker, he said, will “challenge our existing paradigms.”

This keynote message of new life after tribulation was articulated in the first session Sept. 16 headlined by Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. Her timely talk was titled Reconciling History: Echoes of the Past.

The member of the Gitxsan First Nation in northwestern British Columbia touched upon the historical and contemporary injustices against First Nations children and addressed the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

International Catholic scholar Dr. Phyllis Zagano was the second speaker up. Her presentation, Catholic Women, Catholic Church: Where Do We Go from Here, on Oct. 21 offered a critique and analysis of the Church’s “slow response to requests for increased professional presence of women in ministry.”

Zagano’s 2016 appointment to the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women offered her an avenue to gain intimate knowledge about the commissioned efforts to study women deacons and how synods offer a pathway to address the requests of lay women.

Appropriately, there is a particular lecture dedicated to energizing youth to claim the tradition of Catholicism and steer it into the future. Fr. Dennis H. Holtschneider, the president of the U.S. Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to deliver a presentation called Treasure in Earthen Vessels: Bringing a New Generation into the Catholic Intellectual Life.

On Nov. 18, Holtschneider is expected to address the Church scandals and the high-profile Catholics such as filmmaker Woody Allen and novelist Flannery O’Connor who have had their morality challenged over sexual abuse and racism charges respectively.

The series continues in 2022 on Feb. 10 with Peterborough, Ont., native Christian Harvey, who possesses various ministerial experiences with youth, including as co-ordinator of the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Youth Ministry Apprenticeship Program and as the Trent-Durham Area Youth Social Justice co-ordinator. 

His presentation is called Criminalizing Others for our Comfort: Confronting our Systemic Exclusion of Those Experiencing Homelessness and Marginalization.

While it can be considered a universal credo that people are not disposable, Harvey’s presentation is primed to expose that “all around us policies are passed, bylaws are created, laws are enforced and even architecture built that states the exact opposite.”

To take part, visit kings.uwo.ca/campus-ministry/veritas-series/.

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