Ghianda Becerril, Staff Writer
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the theology department and the School of Ministry will be hosting discussion panels on Thursday, Oct. 11 and on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the Art History Auditorium from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
“Given the importance of the Second Vatican Council for the Catholic Church, its 50-year anniversary is a major event all over the world,” said Dr. John Norris, professor of theology.
“The faculty of the theology department and the School of Ministry wanted to find a way to celebrate this momentous occasion, so I suggested a series of lectures, beginning this fall with two lecture series.”
Oct. 11 will begin Pope Benedict XVI’s “Year of Faith,” which invites Catholics all over the world to rediscover their own faith. This anticipated day also marks the 50th celebration of the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Father Roch Kereszty O. Cist., who lived in Rome for seven years while studying for a Doctorate of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.), was present at the opening session of the council.
“When Cardinal Roncalli [Pope John XXIII] was elected, I was at first very disappointed: After the intellectual brilliance and great international stature of Pius XII, a corpulent, jovial 77-year-old unknown cardinal from Venice was elected,” said Kereszty.
“A member of the Académie française predicted, ‘The only achievement of this venerable old man will be to double the staff of the sedes gestatoria – the pope’s portable throne – because of his weight.’”
Soon after his election, on Jan. 25, 1959 – the Feast of St. Paul’s Conversion – and after the solemn celebration in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Pope John XXIII announced the convocation of an ecumenical council, the Second Vatican Council, which would conclude five years later under Pope Paul VI.
Vatican II sought to recover and renew the foundational sources of Catholic tradition in a variety of areas, including liturgy, revelation and the church, according to a press release given by the theology department.
“Unlike many previous councils, whose goals were primarily to combat specific heresies that were threatening the church, this council was called to reinvigorate the church,” said Norris. “It was called especially for the life of the faithful, to foster ecumenism among all Christian believers, and to emphasize the church’s role in caring for and guiding the entire world.”
In honor of the 50th anniversary celebration, Kereszty and Fr. Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, O. Cist., will take part in the discussion on Oct. 11. They will share their memories of the council from their time living in Rome and address its significance, with Dr. Mark Goodwin of the theology department serving as moderator. They will also give a brief summary of why the council was needed and its accomplishments since that time.
“The 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council is great because many false notions circulate about the intentions and achievements of the council fathers,” said Kereszty.
In the concluding panel discussion moderated by Norris a week later, Msgr. Michael Olson of Holy Trinity Seminary, Dr. Marti Jewell of the School of Ministry and Dr. Ron Rombs of the theology department will explore the need for and ongoing significance of the council.
“The documents of this council are rich and profound and a great resource for all Catholics and Christians,” said Norris. “The theology department and the School of Ministry hope to encourage a deeper knowledge of the council and its documents throughout this lecture series.”