Linda Smith, News Editor
Rev. James Martin, S.J., will be the keynote speaker for the Landregan Lecture, the School of Ministry announced.
Martin worked for General Electric before joining the Society of Jesus in 1988, and he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1999. He has worked at a hospice in Kingston, Jamaica, for an outreach program with street gang members in inner city Chicago and in Nairobi, Kenya, helping East African refugees start small businesses.
He is the culture editor of America Magazine and is a bestselling author. His book, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life and published in October 2011, will be a topic for part of his talk. The lecture will be Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynch Auditorium.
Martin said he will emphasize “mainly how our faith leads inevitably to joy, how the saints and great spiritual masters used humor in their lives, and how laughter is a gift from God. I’ll be focusing on the Resurrection as a source of joy and also on the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was not just a ‘Man of Sorrows’ but a ‘Man of Joys.’ ”
Danielle Schumer, SOM communications manager, said appeal is a central criterion for a Landregan lecturer such as Martin.
“Speakers are chosen who have a wide appeal to both those on and off campus within the wider metroplex,” Schumer said. “In the case of this year’s Landregan Lecture, Rev. Martin will be speaking about joy and humor in spiritual life. University of Dallas students can be enriched by the insight of any nationally prominent scholar who visits campus.”
The series was started in 1999 by the Rev. Sean Martin and the Rev. Monsignor Milam Joseph, president of the University of Dallas from 1996-2003, according to SOM events manager Cindy Worth.
“The series, created to honor Mr. Steve Landregan for all that he has done and continues to do for the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Dallas, was designed to bring nationally prominent figures to the University of Dallas campus,” Worth said. “These scholars are people whose areas of expertise reflect the many interests that have animated University of Dallas alumnus Landregan throughout his long, distinguished, and continuing career of service to the Catholic Church in North Texas.”
Schumer said two alumnus awards will be presented at the lecture.
“The awards recognize graduates who have established a record of outstanding accomplishment that reflects the fruit of ‘theological education for transformative service,’” Worth said. “The Dei Verbum Award honors a graduate of the Catholic Biblical School. The Lumen Gentium Award is given to an alumnus of the [School of Ministry] graduate program.”
The Dei Verbum Award will be given to Deacon Eduardo and Olga Garcia, and the Lumen Gentium Award will be given to Campus Ministry Director Denise Phillips.
Martin said he hopes the audience will take away a message of joy “and a renewed appreciation of our faith as the locus, not just of perspectives on suffering, but also as a seed of joy.”