The Association of Pittsburgh Priests has put together a very timely series of speakers for the fall. You may want to put them on your calendars now so you don’t miss them!

Sept. 22, 2016: Tony Norman, “Faith, Fear, & Politics: How to Keep a Clear Conscience on Election Day”. A political science major at Calvin College, Norman began to work at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1988. Working his way up to correspondent and a member of the editorial board, Tony has won numerous awards for his columns on cultural issues of the day. Norman also teaches journalism at Chatham University and is a frequent guest on local talk shows and television programs.

Oct. 27, 2016: Jame Schaefer, “Ecological Conversion: Developing Virtuous Communities” “Faced as we are with global environmental deterioration,” Pope Francis ‘wished to address every person living on this planet.” (Laudato Si). Jame Schaefer, associate professor at Marquette University, focuses on the relationship of theology, the natural sciences, technology, and ecological ethics. Her books include “Confronting the Climate Crisis: Catholic Theological Perspectives” (2011) and “Environmental Justice and Climate Change” (2013). Schaefer will “help us enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.”

Nov. 7, 2016: Robert Mickens, “The Impact of Pope Francis on the Church in Rome, on Bishops around the World, and on People in the Pews.” Mickens studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorianum University in Rome, worked eleven years at Vatican Radio, and then another decade as correspondent for The Tablet of London. Now he is editor in chief of Global Pulse, presenting news, features, and analysis from a Catholic perspective. Mickens is a frequent contributor to the National Catholic Reporter.

Dec. 5, 2016: Tina Whitehead, “Seeing the Other.” Our world has become more and more polarized, more and more fearful. We are inclined to look at others who are “not like us” with suspicion and mistrust. In order to be more compassionate and move toward a culture of inclusiveness, we need to learn how to “see” people of different faiths, cultures, etc. Whitehead will draw on her experiences working with the Palestinian people to share some of the stories that are behind the faces of “the other.” A Canadian and a graduate of Duquesne University with an M.A. in Spiritual Formation, Whitehead has been volunteering in Jerusalem and the West Bank since October 2006. Her primary work has been with Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian Peace and Justice movement.

All the programs begin at 7 PM and are held at Kearns Spirituality Center in Allison Park behind the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Divine Providence, 9000 Babcock Blvd. Watch for more details, including admission fees, in the September issue of The NewPeople.

Joyce Rothermel is chair of the Church Renewal Committee of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests.