Spirituality

Catholic Theology Seminar at NDNU by Bala Gunaseelan

A three-part congregation for the Theological Reading of Sacred Texts will be conducted by Notre Dame de Namur University’s professors every Tuesday from October 3rd at the chapel.

The hour-and-a-half long meetings will commence at 5.30 p.m. every week and close on the 17th.

The first lecture titled Mary the Dawn was completed by Prof. Jim McGarry. Attendees discussed the meanings behind the images portrayed on the stained-glass windows at the Cunningham Memorial Chapel.

The second reading was conducted at the Dorothy Stang center, instead of the chapel annex, as there was a clash with another religious event held there. The assembly began after setting aside five minutes of buffer-time for all attendees to gather at the new venue.

Dr. Criscione then started the talk with a humorous, yet relevant exploration into the realm of contemporary politics, relating pressing matters in congress at the moment to teachings from the Holy books. Her portion of the three-part readings is titled Caring for the Lost and the Least: the Works of Mercy in the Catholic Tradition.

After connecting her pious points with a possible parallel, she began delving into the readings and the group analyzed examples in the Bible that denote a sense of mercy amongst a society.

The Gospel of Matthew features the final judgment scene that expresses the good and righteous as sheep while the accursed are denoted as goats.

Jevon Young, Sophomore at Notre Dame de Namur University, also recalls the judgment scene and said “The Lord is seen favoring the needy and ‘discarded’ over the wealthy and powerful, further emphasizing the idea of the cyclical change bringing the oppressed to the top and vice-versa”.

Both these groups of people are not too different, as they are both unaware of identifying Jesus in the form of the needy. It was in their aiding of the helpless with food, drink and/or shelter that they are separated into the “right hand” or “left hand” of the Lord.

NDNU’s own Dr. Mary Criscione further elaborated that early Christian hallmarks included the providing for and tending of the vulnerable and destitute, regardless of their faith (“…be it Pagan”). These codes of “righteous” living are borrowed from the Jewish Torah and thus permeate across geological boundaries.

Freshman Jesus Mendoza said he agrees with this contextual interpretation of the Bible and that “…these teachings are vital for society, especially during a volatile socio-political situation as this”.

Corporal demands of the faith also encompass serving the needy in all aspects of their lives. The idea of remedying a problem for the long-term, rather than stopping short at immediate first-aid is also evidently found in the scriptures. This objective related to the solutions surrounding immigration and Prof. Mary Criscione expressed noble reverberations from the Gospels that point to the necessities of answering those in need with mercy and compassion.

The seminar also took turns to provide insight on feminist angles from inferences in accordance to biblical contexts. Moderating the exchanges, professor Dr. Criscione also integrated humor in a brand that was most apt while including her own perspectives. Although most of the discussion was spent on topics that would be more melancholic, it ended with hope for the future and aspirations for a more conducive nation.

Senior Rene Roque encourages more meetings and said “Religion can not only separate, but it can also bring together”.

The third , and final, installment of the seminar will be held on the 17th of October, conducted by Prof. Enrico Beltramini, also a religious studies professor at Notre Dame de Namur University, titled Baptism: Readings on the Colossians 2. The discussion will explore the baptism story expressed differently in the second two Gospels and all are invited.

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