BOSTON, Mass., Jul. 13, 2020 – Voice of the Faithful is welcoming back Boston College theology professor Fr. Richard Lennan as a speaker at its 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church, a virtual Zoom gathering that takes place Oct. 3. VOTF members and others will meet to promote their visions of a just Church 18 years after The Boston Globe brought to light widespread clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston and Voice of the Faithful was founded. After nearly two decades, VOTF continues to address the scandal.
Lennan is professor of systematic theology and Professor Ordinarius in BC’s School of Theology and Ministry. He will speak about the new draft Church governance document which Australia’s bishops will consider this year. Fr. Lennan helped develop the document, which promises to be a guide toward a more lay-participatory Church.
Lennan grew up in Newcastle, Australia, and has been a priest of the diocese of Maitland-Newcastle since 1983. He has taught systematic theology in the Catholic Institute of Sydney and served as president of the Australian Catholic Theological Association. He began teaching at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 2007 and continued teaching at Boston College after Weston became part of BC. Lennan currently directs STM’s Sacred Theology Licensure program, serves on the editorial board of Theological Studies, and chairs the steering committee of the Karl Rahner Society.
Together with two BC colleagues, Lennan wrote “To Serve the People of God: Renewing the Conversation on Priesthood and Ministry,” about which he spoke at last year’s VOTF conference. The document calls for reexamining the formation process for diocesan priests and eradicating the priesthood’s embedded clerical culture. Lennan also is the author of two books, and he has edited five others.
Also speaking at this year’s VOTF conference will be Catholic studies scholar Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., who will offer her vision of a just Church. Zagano has lectured widely in this country and abroad. On August 2, 2016, Pope Francis appointed her to the Papal Commission for the Study of Women in the Diaconate, which convened in Rome November 2016. She has published hundreds of articles and is the author or editor of twenty books in religious studies, including award-winning work on women in the diaconate. She currently is senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University.
Zagano is a recipient of the VOTF Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award, which recognizes exemplary lay leaders who enthusiastically use their gifts in the Church’s service. She also has received the Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice from The Paulist Center Community in Boston for “her prolific body of work that has constantly echoed the cry of the poorest in our society for dignity and for justice, both inside and outside the Church.”
Conference information and registration is available by clicking here. VOTF expects to add additional speakers to its conference schedule, as well as updates from VOTF leaders on the progress of the organization’s programs and initiatives. Registrants also will gather virtually in small groups on Friday evening, Oct. 2, for the opportunity to meet other attendees and discuss issues affecting the Church today.
Voice of the Faithful News Release, Jul. 13, 2020
Contact: Nick Ingala, firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at www.votf.org.