SALT LAKE CITY — On Jan. 8, the Msgr. Benvegnu lecture series at St. Vincent De Paul Parish will continue with speaker Dean Scott Dodge, who will address the subject “Are Catholics and Protestants Coming Together?”
The lecture series is organized by Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, pastor emeritus of the parish, at the request of Fr. John Norman, the pastor, in memory of Msgr. Mark Benvegnu, who was the parish’s pastor from 1962 until his retirement in 1986. Msgr. Benvegnu organized the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) efforts in the parish and, as director of the program, helped promote it throughout the diocese. He also oversaw construction of the parish school, which opened with grades kindergarten and first, and now enrolls through grade eight. The Nano Nagle preschool also is now on the parish campus.
One of the core missions of the Church is to educate people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it manifests itself in the Church, Msgr. Mannion said, adding that the lecture series is an effort to provide adult education to Catholics across the diocese.
“I hope we are providing a substantive and stimulating set of lectures,” he said.
This is the third year for the lecture series, which is held every other month. All of the lectures are free and open to the public. Msgr. Mannion urges Church members to invite their friends both of the Catholic and other faiths to enjoy the lectures.
“One of the Church’s missions is to reach out to the larger community and to participate in the ecclesiastical life of the community at large,” he said.
The lecturers for the series each specialize in specific areas of Catholic teachings and are drawn from across the diocese.
While the numbers who have attended the three previous lectures this year have not been large, response has been positive, Msgr. Mannion said.
The Jan. 8 lecture will explore the relationship between Catholics and Protestants today. A ministerial doctoral candidate at Oregon’s Mount Angel Seminary, Deacon Dodge will address the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the eventual positive impact it had on the Church. He will also examine some common beliefs among Lutherans and Catholics, how the ministry of the pope is viewed by Protestants and the influence Vatican II has had on Protestantism.
On March 12, Ruth Dillon, the diocesan director of liturgy, will speak on “Understanding Holy Week.”
This lecture will help Church members prepare to celebrate the Easter Triduum – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday – by examining the rites, history and spirituality of Holy Week.
When Catholics are more attuned to the meaning of Holy Week, they will have more interest in celebrating the rich Easter Triduum with a greater devotion, Dillon said.
On May 7, Fr. Christopher Gray, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, will explore the emergence of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed in a lecture titled “Controversies in the Early Church.”
The history of the Creed is a story of emperors and exiles, of vicious debates and cutthroat political maneuvering, Fr. Gray said. Although it is an accepted touchstone of Christian identity today, the Creed professed by millions of Christians stems from a complex history of cultural distrust and hard-won compromises, he added.
In his lecture for the Benvegnu series, Fr. Gray will share the story of how the Creed emerged from the highly political debate surrounding it.
This year’s Benvegnu lecture series began with Msgr. Mannion addressing the topics of Catholic laity administering last rites. The second speaker in the series was Fr. Norman, who spoke about developing a lively understanding of the gospels. The third speaker was Marie Mischel, editor of the Intermountain Catholic, who led a discussion of Rodney Stark’s book Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History.
WHAT: Lecture –“Are Catholics and Protestants Coming Together?”
WHEN: Jan. 8, 7 p.m.
WHERE: St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 1375 E. Spring Lane, Salt Lake City
Free and open to the public.