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The 2024 Convocation provides fruitful dialogue for the Church today

The members of the College of Fellows met for the Annual Convocation of the College of Fellows from February 1-4, 2024 at the Priory of St. Albert the Great and the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. During this time, the Fellows and members of the broader DSPT community addressed the topic of "The Church in the Modern World...And in These Times," focusing on the history and application of Gaudium et Spes

The Convocation was comprised of two parts: the closed sessions with the Fellows and the open sessions which were open to the public.

The Closed Sessions

The first of the closed sessions were devoted to a roundtable discussion among the fellows about this year’s theme: The Church in the Modern World…and in These Times.” 

The other closed sessions consisted of a business meeting that included presentations by Sr. Marianne CSC, Father Raphael Mary OP, and Father Dennis Klein OP about future planning of DSPT. Another presentation was given by DSPT student and St. Albert Scholar Andrew DiCrisi with a proposal on how the College of Fellows might support students in their research and career developments.

Sr. Marianne noted that, “the fellows were very positive about the direction of DSPT and they are willing to offer suggestions about the ways they can support these initiatives.” Some members of the College of Fellows have already reached out about how they could support the mission of DSPT.

The Open Sessions

On February 3, 2024, the College of Fellows and DSPT hosted a public session for over 100 guests. The public session included a morning presentation on "Gaudium et Spes: 60 Years Later" by JD Flynn, with responses to the presentation by Dr. Russell Hittinger, and Father Michael Sweeney, OP.

The afternoon session was comprised of presentations and responses by DSPT students and alum. The student presenters were Matthew Brown, Br. Phillip Neri Gerlomes, OP, and St. Albert Scholar Paola Pruett-Vergara. The alumnus presenter was Sean Bryan, Operations Director at the Lay Mission Project, an apostolate of the Western Dominican Province. The afternoon session was moderated by DSPT student and St. Albert Scholar, Andrew DiCrisi.

The public event concluded with the induction of Professor Scott Roniger of Loyola Marymount University into the DSPT College of Fellows as well as the conferral of an honorary doctorate in humanities.

DSPT student Joseph Rodrigues shared some highlights from his experience of the open sessions:

"Before the opening session on Saturday morning, all enjoyed coffee and pastries on the DSPT campus. This gave an opportunity for students to mingle with the fellows before any of the formalities commenced. I, myself, met with several fellows of varied backgrounds, who were very much enthused with my educational training and with what the DSPT offers in terms of academic and Christian formation.

Regarding topics we discussed, the Convocation brought up subject matters that are crucial to living the Gospel mission in today’s society, some of which are not discussed in a secular context. The Convocation of Fellows allows for free discussion with professionals and academics who are dedicated to living the Gospel, rather than only considering the virtuous life of the Christian person as a theory. As long as the DSPT continues down this path–a practice of applied Scripture–it will remain to serve as a beacon for those who walk the bridge between Athens and Jerusalem.

The College of Fellows is a well of resources that has the potential to guide our students who are seeking professional guidance. Although some of the fellows may not live in the area, or are unable to attend events like the Convocation and graduation, any event that brings the College of Fellows together would bear fruit for our students. This could include Zoom gatherings regarding study topics, mentorships, lectures, etc. It may also benefit the students to know that, under certain circumstances, a member of the College of Fellows may serve as a reader on the student's thesis committee, an option that is being explored and requested this academic year."

Photos taken by Sean Santos