By Joyce Rothermel

As usual, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests has a great line up for its speakers’ series this fall. Check them out. All events will be held on Zoom, making it easier than ever to participate!

Rev. James Martin, SJ kicks the series off on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7 PM. His topic is “Encounter the One on the Margins: Reaching Out to LGBTQ Catholics.” Among Catholic leaders, James Martin clearly leads the way in ministering to the LGBTQ community …and he has clearly paid a price for his bold and brave leadership.

The very title of his groundbreaking 2017 book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity stirred immediate controversy, which continues to roil within regressive elements of the Church. A recent example happened last March when Detroit Bishop Gerard Battersby decreed that a year-s long church / LGBTQ support group “could no longer be welcomed…at any facility affiliated with archdiocese.” (National Catholic Reporter, June 12- 25, 2020)

Far away, at the other end of the Mercy spectrum, is Martin’s voice, urging us to “… pray and work for a world in which LGBTQ people are treated as beloved children of God.”

He is the author of several other books, popular among mainstream Catholics. Among them: The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything and Jesus: A Pilgrimage Martin’s following is such that he is featured in 48 YouTube videos.
He is also editor-at-large at the Jesuit magazine America, as well as a consultant to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.

Participants will be guided by James Martin towards how to encounter those on the margins, in a church that does not stand with us as we strive to do so. KDKA reporter Andy Sheehan will lead the dialogue with him.

On Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 7 PM, Deborah Rose-Milavec will speak on: “What about Women? The Promise of Women’s Full Participation in the Catholic Church.”

Deborah Rose-Milavec is Co-Director of Future Church, a Catholic community in Cleveland which seeks changes that will provide all Catholics with opportunities to participate more fully in Church life and leadership.

Rose-Milavec will focus on the countless challenges faced by women who are “longing for opportunities to express the fullness of God’s presence within them.” She notes with regret that Catholic women are turning increasingly to other faiths to “find acceptance, inclusivity, and the equality they seek.” Drawing on her extensive national and international experiences, she will also discuss the rich array of gifts women are offering the Church, as well as repercussions of the ongoing denial of those gifts.

Despite John Paul II’s famously slamming shut the door to women’s ordination when he decreed on May 22, 1994: “…the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.” Rose- Milavec is nonetheless able to envision that “promise” still exists in regard to women’ s full participation in the Catholic Church. Participants will catch some hope and optimism from her that evening!

Finally, Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D. will speak on Tuesday, November 16 at 7 PM on: “New Ecclesial Movements: Community, Fragmentation, and Post-Institutional Church.”

Ecclesial movements – such as Focolare, Neocatechumenate, Communion and Liberation, Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, Pax Christi – will play a key role in the future of Catholicism, according to church historian Faggioli, Theology Professor at Villanova University, prolific author, and an expert on Vatican II. Ecclesial movements are the largely lay-led groups which call attention to the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, while striving to broaden the horizons of mission and ministry within the Church.

Faggioli’s presentation will provide a comprehensive historical context for these movements’ rise, especially during the last three decades, from John Paul II to Pope Francis. He will also describe what is happening in our country and globally to either renew the Church or to keep its focus on the treasures of the past.

A major contributor to Commonweal Magazine, he is also the author of several books. Among them are such timely topics as: Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning; The Rising Laity: Ecclesial Movements Since Vatican II; The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis.

All who desire to deepen your understanding of where the Catholic Church is headed should register for Massimo Faggioli’s scholarly perspective on how the complex phenomenon of Ecclesial Movements will be shaping the Catholic Church now more than ever before in history.

To register for one or all of the speaker series events, go to www. While there is no fee to participate, donations are encouraged. For more information, contact Rev. John Oesterle at 412-232-7512 or Pathways to Lay Leadership is joining the Association of Pittsburgh Priests in presenting this fall’s speakers series.

Joyce Rothermel is a member of the board of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests.

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 5. July/August, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

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