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conversatio Volume 13, Number 4 | 2014


Cover: Victor Klimoski, Director of Lifelong Learning

Contents What Do We Know About A Lifetime Of Learning? Barbara Sutton 4 7

Prepared To Make A Difference: SOT 2013-14 Graduates


Sending Them Forth


Why Study?


Fr. Michael Patella, OSB

Dean William Cahoy

Being A Pastor In A New Way: Fr. Tony Oelrich

Victor Klimoski


First Person, Teacher


Anthony Ruff, OSB

The Path To Readiness For Ministry

Barbara Sutton | Bailey Walter


Tending the Vision


Leading With Joy


Abbot John Klassen, OSB

Financing the Call to Serve

Daniel Aleshire, Executive Director, The Association of Theological Schools


Faculty/Staff News

21 Milestones 22

A Collaboration of Love

Grace Ellens



An Interview with Victor Klimoski

Barbara Sutton, Associate Dean for Ministerial Formation and Outreach

Victor Klimoski was hired in 1999 as director of what would eventually come to be known as “Conversatio Lifelong Learning”. He left his position as academic dean at The Saint Paul Seminary, a position he held for seventeen years, to return “home.” Victor is a Saint John’s graduate of the college (1967), and of the School of Theology·Seminary (1978). He holds graduate degrees in theology, program development, and adult learning. Over the course of his career, he has served as a consultant on teaching and learning and assessment of learning for the Association of Theological Schools, the Wabash Center For Teaching and Learning, the Lexington Seminar, and the Keystone Project. In addition, he has worked with the Lilly Endowment on three of its coordinating projects that gathered the learning from major grant initiatives. He has been a trainer in the Blandin Foundation’s community leadership program for over twenty years and has published three volumes of poetry. He retired June 30 after fifteen years of service to Saint John’s. Dr. Sutton will assume his responsibilities. taught us that mastering the mechanics of English freed us for the creative aspects of communication. In terms of poetry itself, the discipline of writing short lines around an idea, insight, question, or dilemma appealed to my slothful side. As I have worked with the form over the past thirty years, I have come to appreciate poetry as a unique language. And language matters. How we say something, how we name it and give it life, determines what will happen next. Poetry also demands a winnowing. You need to cut through the tsunami of words to get to the real point. I find that my professional and academic writing has improved because of writing poetry, making me mindful of my choice of words and my need to curb my verbosity.

You have spent fifteen years thinking about and experimenting with lifelong learning. What are the major conclusions you have drawn? First of all, we live in a culture that both prizes and abhors busyness. Its language – as boast and as lament – is pervasive. Individuals, organizations, and communities find themselves hyper-connected, over-committed, and often exhausted. So one conclusion I have come to is that the challenge for Conversatio is not figuring out how to package the next best batch of information. Instead, we face the challenge of creating a space for reflection, deep conversation, healthy argument, and then convincing people to pause long enough to take advantage of it. My mantra of doing less with greater intention often falls on deaf ears because, frankly, there is always so much more to do. But I am not impressed that the results of being overextended balance out the cost to people’s inner lives and relationships. Or to their ultimate effectiveness. Second, lifelong learning involves interpretation and integration. People seem to wait for someone else to tell them what their experience means rather than exploring that experience for themselves. Those interpretative insights are what people bring to theology and scripture as they test, challenge, and construct understanding. Integration is about deep learning in which knowledge becomes an active part of how one thinks about and sees the world rather than simply as data points for an action strategy.

In many ways you have made ‘conversation’ a lively art! Why is that so central to what you do? Creating conversation is at the heart of Conversatio because it is the root source of change and growth. The relationship between our program name and the Benedictine charism of conversatio is clear to me. If I understand conversatio as part of Benedictine life, it involves faithfulness to a way of life as a disciple of Christ. Conversation involves a fidelity to truth and requires disciplines and practices that enable the truth we each see in our own way to help illuminate a topic, question, or problem. My observation is that most people eventually tire of complaining. A discussion that ends up being an exercise in hanging crepe about everything that is wrong and dismal is a dead-end street. And over time it kills the spirit and fosters ideological rigidity. When conversation happens, imaginations are set on fire. What galvanizes people is the ability to see through the fog to new possibilities. That happens in the context of a group where each person is invited to do their best thinking, their best listening, and their most thoughtful speaking. We have never pretended to have the answers. What we do have is the zeal for the transforming power of real conversation. Over and over again, I have seen people discover where the answer lies and what it will require of them to make it happen.

You have a knack for taking something very unpoetic and turning it into poetry… how did this happen for you? At some early point in my education, I discovered that writing was a powerful way of expressing my inner life. I also had a wonderful teacher in high school and early college, Fr. Gordon Gilsdorf, who 44

You have had a long professional life serving the church through academic institutions. What have been the threads of this service that have been consistent? My calling in life is as an educator. I am very curious about how learning happens, what good teaching entails, and how people actually change as they encounter “knowledge.” That curiosity translated into my involvement in formation for ministry especially at The Saint Paul Seminary as well as here. For the past fifteen years, I have had the privilege of working with women and men engaged in pastoral leadership who seek to develop their capacities to lead, to grow in their vocational calls, and to contribute to the on-going renewal of parish life and the church. Despite the hundreds of opinions I have about how things should work, my calling as an educator requires me to be a facilitator of learning. I love bringing committed, growth-oriented ministers together, and putting them in dialogue with bright resource people or provocative texts. I take extreme pleasure when I am witness to individuals stepping outside their defensive certainty to consider new perspectives, new points of view. Even in my consulting work with theological schools, parish staffs, community organizations, and rural community leaders, I am an educator with a responsibility to enable people to claim their capacities to think, assess, critique, and create understandings that can change the dull thud of the status quo.

You have assisted many to reflect on the practice of ministry and their leadership. What has informed your own practice of leadership? I read the literature on leadership as part of my work and of some teaching I do. It is a valuable synthesis of the science of leadership – the host of variables we can identify and track. But my best resources have been the leaders with whom I have worked. If I were to distill what they taught me, it would be a list of rather common virtues: the centrality of mission and vision, the power of trust, the indispensability of kindness and mutual respect; the value of creativity and experimentation; discontent with bureaucratic obtuseness; planning and assessment of results; risk-taking; and the teaching power of failure. Those I admire the most would be people like Fr. Kieran Nolan, OSB, former SOT·Sem dean, for his vision for possibility, Fr. Charlie Froehle, former rector of The Saint Paul Seminary, for the depth of his integrity; Mary Robinson, founder of BeFriender Ministry at the University of St. Thomas, for her tenacity around mission; Mac Warford, former seminary president and director of the Lexington Seminar, for his capacity to convene people for powerful conversations, Sr. Carol Rennie, OSB, former prioress at St. Paul’s Monastery, for her courage, and Sr. Diane Kennedy, OP, recently retired vice-president for mission at Dominican University, for her faithfulness to truth. I am a better person in so many ways because of my association with them.

Over time, how did you notice needs and pastoral concerns shift for pastoral leadership? The biggest shift for me is the loss of predictability. I grew up in an era in which communities had defined boundaries, roles were clear, expectations were uniform and enforced, authority was ascribed to people by office and not merit, and the future was not a mystery. Priests ordained even twenty-five years ago could have assumed the trajectory of their ministerial lives. Being pastor followed “the book” and while variations might happen here and there, a parish was a parish was a Interview continued on page 6


“Creating conversation is at the heart of Conversatio because it is the root source of change and growth.”

Interview continued from page 5

parish. Today, the configuration of what makes a parish is fluid. People’s commitment to a parish is variable, and they are unlikely to accept something simply because the priest says it.

5. Being busy is the residual sin of the Fall: we can never do enough but still act as though we can. 6. We move from blue-skying to a plan of action too quickly for fear we will lose hold of reality’s tether; the tether is always around our neck.

For lay ecclesial ministers, the loss of predictability is two-fold. First, the financial state of parishes is decreasing the availability of permanent, reasonably paid positions. This may reflect as well the attitude of parish leaders as to whether advanced training and formation are needed for certain positions. Second, there is an apparent reluctance on the part of church leaders to embrace and integrate the stellar work that has been done theologically into an understanding of the lay ecclesial minister as integral to the work of pastoral mission.


Courage is indispensible to leadership and membership; it is the responsibility of each individual to exercise; it becomes possible (and fruitful) by being rooted in community of some sort.

8. Avoiding speaking the truth only delays discomfort and increases exponentially speaking out of anger. 9. Anger has deeper roots than lust.

You speak about yourself as a “synthetic thinker.” Using that descriptor, how would you synthesize what you know up to this point?

10. The capacity to forgive creates the space for mutuality to flourish.

As you leave Conversatio Lifelong Learning in my hands, what is your advice about how I can best build upon the work of the last fifteen years?

1. Being mindful requires far more energy than we believe. 2. The notions of common good, common mission, or common values need constant review and rehearsing.

This may seem like too simple an answer, but I think the best course of action is to keep in focus the vision that defines our efforts: to cooperate in the renewal of Church and society by creating sacred space for prayer, study, and mutual learning. It is what we do very well, and it is what people need if they are going to change the world.

3. There is a strong temptation to believe a mongrelized version of Descartes’ dictum: I think it, therefore I must mean/ practice it. 4. Relationship trumps project every time.


PREPARED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE New Graduates For A Changing World

Over the past year, nearly twenty five students have completed their graduate programs. As much as we will miss their talent, spirited conversation, and enthusiasm for theological and ministerial study, we realize that we are only part of a much larger journey each has. Each term we celebrate the graduates with a liturgy and banquet. At the banquet, we hear from graduates what their experience at Saint John’s has meant to them. What stands out, however, are their comments about vocation, about being called to a life of service or scholarship and finding in Collegeville a culture that affirms that call. The loss we feel as they leave our community finds great solace in our confidence that these graduates, each in their own way, will make a difference in the world.

Winter Graduates : Kelly Santini and Elias Correa-Torres, OSB

Master of Divinity Benjamin Durbin Danielson Loves Park, Illinois

Bradley Jenniges, OSB Collegeville, Minnesota

Zachary Mocek Toledo, Ohio

Rebecca Spanier

Spring Graduates :  Front Row, L-R: Marion Gondringer, Cathy Robak, S. Shawna Foley, PBVM, Terese Tomanek, Audrey Seah | Second Row, L-R : Patricia Ellis, Michaela Frie, Katherine Florian, Nathan Chase, Kristi Anderson | Third Row, L-R: Fr. Bradley Jenniges, OSB, Fr. Simon Liu, Rebecca Spanier, Brian Frice, Zachary Mocek | Fourth Row, L-R: Carlton Chase, Wesley Sutermeister, Timothy Dusenbury, Benjamin Rush, Justin Campbell, Benjamin Danielson  

Graduates: Summer 2013 – Spring 2014 Nathan Chase

Brian Frice

John Schmitt

Justin Campbell

Michaela Frie

John Solheid

Elias Correa-Torres, OSB

Marion Gondringer

Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Murphy, Texas Liturgical Studies Baltimore, Maryland Systematics

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Belmont, North Carolina Monastic Studies

Terese Tomanek

Timothy Dusenbury

Duluth, Minnesota

Master of Arts

Arlington, Virginia Liturgical Music

Chula Vista, California Systematics Omaha, Nebraska Liturgical Music Albany, Minnesota Pastoral Ministry

Nicole Hessig

Carlo Argoti

Katherine Florian

Cathy Robak

C. A. Chase

Shawna Foley, PBVM

Kelly Santini

Brentwood, Tennessee Systematics

Washington, Pennsylvania Liturgical Music Fargo, North Dakota Pastoral Ministry

Cairnbrook, Pennsylvania

Wesley Sutermeister

Simon Shuang Hao Liu

Burbank, California Liturgical Music

Benjamin Rush Audrey Seah

Patricia Ellis

Nassau, Bahamas Liturgical Music

Alexandria, Minnesota Theology

New York Mills, Minnesota Pastoral Ministry

Kristi Anderson

Saint Cloud, Minnesota Pastoral Ministry

Wausau, Wisconsin Pastoral Ministry

Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, China Pastoral Ministry

Singapore, Singapore Columbus, Ohio

Cold Spring, Minnesota Pastoral Ministry Rockford, Illinois Systematics 7

New Graduates continued on page 8

New Graduates continued from page 7

What the Future Holds

Audrey L. Seah (MA, Singapore) will enter the doctoral program in liturgical studies at Notre Dame. Kelly Marie Santini (MA, Rockford, IL) is pursuing teaching opportunities in the Twin Cities. Cathy Robak (MA PMin, Cold Spring, MN) will continue as a trainer/web

support specialist for Saint John’s IT Department. Her integration project was on technology and ministry. C. A. Chase (MA, Brentwood, TN) will continue at Saint John’s to earn the ThM and apply for doctoral programs in fundamental or political theology. Nathan Chase (MA Liturgical Studies, Murphy, TX) will be working on a Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion at the University of Leuven, Netherlands. Michaela Frie (MA Liturgical Music, Omaha, NE) has taken the position of director of worship at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Chaska, MN. Nicole Hessig (MA PMin, New York Mills, MN) will continue as Coordinator of Youth Ministry for St. John the Baptist of Bluffton and St. Ann’s of Wadena, Minnesota. Bradley Jenniges, OSB (MDiv, Saint John’s Abbey) will be serving as parochial vicar at the Church of Seven Dolors in Albany, Minnesota and the Church of St. Anthony in St. Anthony, Minnesota. Fr. Simon Shuang Hao Liu (MA PMin, Yunnan Province, China) will complete a second unit in clinical pastoral education in New York over the summer before returning to his parish in Yunnan Province. Rebecca Spannier (MDiv, St. Cloud MN) begins a chaplain residency program this fall at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.


FROM THE RECTOR Sending Them Forth Fr Michael Patella, OSB

member of the abbey schola. As a deacon he served in the parish cluster in Albany and Saint Anthony, Minnesota. Ordained May 24, he continues in parochial ministry in Albany.

With every spring comes a round of ordinations. As joyful as this moment is, there is some sadness in saying good-bye to monks who have been so much a part of the fabric of the place for the past four years. While they may think that they have learned a great deal from the community at Collegeville, they have also taught a great deal to their peers and faculty. Now we send them forth with their talent and our blessings on the ministries to which they are called.

Ordained with Fr. Brad on May 24, Fr. Michael-Leonard Hahn, OSB, will begin doctoral work this fall at Boston College in theological education. A Twin Cities native, he completed his BA in political science from Saint John’s University in 2006, served in the Benedictine Volunteer Corps after graduation and was posted to Newark Abbey’s Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey. After his year with the Volunteers, Fr. Michael-Leonard continued teaching at Saint Benedict’s Prep while completing an MA in Theology from Seton Hall University. He entered Saint John’s in 2009 and has taught introductory theology for CSBSJU while taking seminary classes and completing a second Master of Theology degree. After solemn profession, Fr. Michael-Leonard became a faculty resident.

Fr. Elias Correa-Torres, OSB, of Our Lady of Christians Abbey in Belmont, North Carolina, was ordained by Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, bishop of Charlotte on Friday, April 25th. Fr. Elias arrived at Saint John’s with a doctorate in meteorology and had a career studying and improving hurricane prediction before joining the monastery. Fr. Elias currently serves as the formation director and novice master at Belmont in addition to providing ministerial assistance to the Belmont Abbey College community and nearby parishes. Fr. Brad Jenniges, OSB, has been a monk of Saint John’s Abbey since 1992. Born and raised in Saint Paul, he majored in mathematics at the University of Minnesota, where he was class valedictorian at graduation. A man of many talents, Fr. Brad has been a Collegeville Fire Department officer, assistant treasurer of the abbey, socius novice master, assistant junior master, and

They say that every end is a new beginning, and we can see such a beginning with these men. With their talent and expertise now directed toward service to God’s people, their life experiences as well as their theological education can only benefit the Church which they are now called to serve, just as the Church under Pope Francis begins its new evangelization.


FROM THE DEAN Why Study? William Cahoy, Dean

But obtaining the credential is not the most important reason for study. Most of our students have more internal motivations. Whatever the market may be saying, they know, often from experience, that they will be more effective in their ministry, be able to serve the people of God better, and follow their vocation more fully with a strong theological education. Many are also driven by a deep and powerful desire to understand the faith they profess: the ways of God in the world, in their own lives and the lives of others. These are inspiring individuals of strong faith willing to sacrifice and do the hard work of graduate theological study – those late nights of reading and writing – to prepare themselves to serve the people of God.

The end of the academic year is a particularly intense time of study as students spend long hours preparing for final exams and presentations, writing papers, completing portfolios and more. Some students are doing this full time for three or four courses. Others are wedging study for one or two courses into fulltime job and family obligations. In the midst of all this stress, hard work, and too little sleep, it’s natural to wonder why. Why study? Especially when we hear stories of parishes moving from graduate-educated, professional lay ecclesial ministers to volunteers. The volunteers surely have strong faith, good hearts, and a desire to serve, but they have no formal theological education. If that is enough to minister effectively and pass on the faith to the next generation, why study?

However, the question of why study theology goes beyond individual students to the church as a whole. How do we value serious, sustained theological study for our pastoral leaders? We recognize its importance for the work of priests and so we require it for ordination and pay for their education. When it comes to lay people or ordained deacons stepping up to do the work formerly done by priests or religious, the message is less clear. It is almost as if the life of faith is the one area where knowledge and expertise don’t matter.

The answer to that question is as varied as our students. Most immediately, we study to get a good grade and make progress toward a degree, which can make a job or ordination possible. And, we are proud to say, in the two years we have formally kept track of this for the Department of Education, all of our graduates seeking work either got a job or went on for further study. A Saint John’s degree makes a difference.

This is a dangerous message. The challenges to the Christian life in our secular, religiously diverse age, awash in fundamentalisms of all sorts, are enormous and growing in complexity. We need pastoral leaders who can help us deal faithfully and responsibly with this complexity. In a world where even a past governor in this state can say that religion is for the weak-minded, we should not provide further evidence for such an indictment. We need pastors, lay ecclesial ministers, and teachers who are well-educated, unafraid to listen to the world and the signs of our times, and able to respond thoughtfully and with integrity. Educated leadership strengthens the community. We are faced with foundational critiques from a pervasive secularism and an invigorated atheism claiming the mantle of reason and science. Along with this is the increasing complexity of the issues we face as people of faith: beginning and end of life, sexual orientation, inter-faith marriages, care for the environment, worker justice in a global marketplace, and on and on. To address all this responsibly we need more than platitudes. We need pastoral ministers in our parishes, hospitals, schools and elsewhere who are prepared to help us think through such complex issues faithfully, thoughtfully, and with integrity because they can draw on the deepest truths of the Gospel and the church’s long tradition of giving life to the Gospel in the time and place we are actually living. This requires a nuanced understanding of both the world and the Gospel. This is why we study. This is the mission of the School. It is the work of our students. It is manifest in the graduates we are sending into the world and the work we report here. 10

BEING A PASTOR IN A NEW WAY: Fr. Tony Oelrich An Inside Reflection On Clustered Parishes

Victor Klimoski

It is safe to say that Fr. Anthony Oelrich (MDiv, 1992) did not have a class when he attended the seminary program at Saint John’s about leading a cluster of parishes. It was not exactly an unknown reality twenty years ago but was usually limited to small towns where the local parish might service a mission church in the countryside. The norm was “the parish,” a place with a rectory, an identity, and a history. It was a predictable sociological and ecclesiastical entity. While each parish was distinct in culture and background, its fundamentals were almost identical no matter where one might go. Fast forward to the Diocese of St. Cloud where all the parishes of the city of St. Cloud have been reconfigured into clusters. Where sixteen independent parishes with their own pastor once defined the neighborhoods, now there are six clusters. Each cluster has its own pastor. In his seventh year as pastor of a cluster comprised of the Cathedral of St. Mary, Christ Church Newman Center, and St. Augustine’s, Fr. Tony Oelrich understands the role of pastor in a new way. He was prepared for his role in this new cluster by being part of the diocese’s very first cluster that involved five parishes in the Holdingford area. “The difference in that cluster is that we had five parishes with a common mission and five distinct personalities. In this cluster, the three parishes had both distinct missions and distinct personalities.” To illustrate his point about parish personalities, Fr. Tony likes to describe the parishes in terms of birth order in a family. The Cathedral is like the oldest child – secure, its place not threatened. The Newman Center parish, Christ Church, is akin to the youngest child, full of energy and dynamic and demanding a lot of attention. That leaves St. Augustine’s in the role of the middle child, alert to how it fits into the scheme of things and worrying about being overlooked. “Beyond this simple effort to describe some of the dynamics of this cluster,” Fr. Tony says, “it is my experience that parishioners in all three parishes are very intentional about their membership and fully present to what we are about. That is the result of stable, effective leadership over the years.” Fr. Oelrich is not sanguine about what it takes to lead in so complex a setting. He says that he began his work wanting to foster mutuality and relationship among the three communities through some shared spaces. The size and scope of the parishes made that difficult. However, the parishes now share a common business administrator and the leadership of one director of faith formation. Finding other ways to build unity and a sense of common purpose across the parishes is, for Fr. Tony, a structural challenge for which he relies on the staff people in place. He finds the regular weekly staff meetings indispensible. “We always spend time in prayer with lectio divina on the Sunday texts for Mass. We read a book together and discuss it, and we allot time for business matters affecting an individual parish and/or the cluster as continued on page 12


Being a Pastor continued from page 11

to people in my rush to get to the next place. This pace of life gets in the way of making personal connections and being fully present to the people I am called to serve.” Over time, this busyness takes its toll and can turn ministry into a job. “Expectations of me exceed reality,” he says, “because each parish has expectations of what ‘their pastor’ should be doing for them. In a cluster like this, that means disappointment times three.” As a result of this lesson, Fr. Tony is learning to deal with limits – his own, those of the communities he serves, those of staff – and being at peace. “In the end, I know that the work is God’s work and that we have the gifts among us to respond. Keeping that before me is a daily challenge.”

a whole. Who we are as a team of ministers matters a great deal, and being a team is not simply about coordinating work assignments. We have to cultivate a sense of a common mission anchored in the Gospel, and for me that is what our staff meeting times strive to accomplish.” The list of lessons learned so far in this assignment reflects Fr. Tony’s capacity for thoughtful reflection and analysis. First, he has come to understand the centrality of the pastor in terms of the leadership the pastor can provide. At the same time, he is aware how important it is for the pastor to make space for and invite the gifts of others. “I understand the tension that lies in the balance,” he notes. “My role gets overplayed so that if I disagree with something, it is taken as law rather than as my contribution to the discussion. And if I lack energy to take on something more, things can come to a stop. Every member of the staff has to be engaged if the work of mission is to progress.”

It is clear that Fr. Oelrich is being as much formed by his experience as pastor of this cluster as the parishes in the cluster are being formed by his leadership. He speaks forcefully about the need of pastors for an ecclesial spirituality, the capacity to meet people where they are in the church. He understands how important it is to affirm the vocational call of lay ecclesial ministers who join him in leadership and to cultivate skills to nurture them, share vision, and call forth accountability. “Community building is complicated,” he says several times, “but it is what I was called to do as a priest. I don’t do it alone. I can’t do it alone. We – the staff, lay leaders, and parishioners – are in this together. And what we do ultimately will be judged by how the Gospel prospers among us and equips us for discipleship in the world.”

A second lesson Fr. Tony has learned is the challenge of forming communion in an individualistic culture, whether this is among staff members from the three parishes, lay leaders in the parishes, or parishioners as a whole. “What is involved in clustering is not a matter of adapting structures,” he says, “but of thinking differently and then acting for a common good that exceeds what any one of us – staff or parishioners – would prefer.” A third lesson is the danger of dispersing a pastor’s presence over three or more parishes. Fr. Tony observed that “too often my back is turned


FIRST PERSON, TEACHER Leading Discussion Around Controversial Issues Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB

that would stretch students’ minds no matter their personal opinions on the issue. So I began by asking students to advocate only for the position they did not hold – to put themselves into the mindset of the opposing position.

Several years ago, I was teaching the overview course on the history and development of doctrine that students take at the beginning of their graduate theological studies. After slogging through twenty centuries of data, there were a few class periods remaining to take up current issues about which students were concerned. The most demanding of me as a teacher was the non-ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

This was a real challenge for the students, and some did better than others. The discussion was slow and halting at first. But then students gained a bit of comfort in thinking from a different point of view, and they rose to the challenge. A hearty discussion ensued. Some students chose not to reveal their opinion which was just fine. Those who did participate reported that it was mind-expanding, and even if it didn’t change their position, it gave them a deepened respect for a position other than their own.

To set some boundaries to such a controversial topic, I challenged students to reflect on how this issue involved consideration of all the areas of theology we had studied over the semester: Christian anthropology, the nature of tradition, Scriptural interpretation, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and the Church’s relationship to contemporary culture.

I chose not to state my own view because it likely would have shut down the discussion. I needed to be a neutral facilitator of the discussion so that I could be in the position of insuring that all voices were heard. From my perspective, we had a very good discussion. Students reported that the exercise prodded them to think more deeply about an issue. I also believe that students left the discussion with a clearer and more accurate understanding of church teaching on the matter as well as insight into why people think differently. I think that is pedagogical success.

I required students as well to read authoritative official church documents from Pope John Paul II and the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I thought it was also important for them to read other theological perspectives such as the one from the Catholic Theological Society of America. My point was to present viewpoints fairly and accurately. On the day of the class discussion, I knew feelings would be high. I wanted to create the conditions for calm and constructive dialogue


THE PATH TO READINESS FOR MINISTRY: Mid-Degree Assessment Barbara Sutton, Associate Dean for Ministerial Formation and Outreach Bailey Walter, Second Year MDiv Student

Dr. Sutton:

Bailey Walter:

Formation in ministry addresses developing intellectual, pastoral, human and spiritual competencies in a way that integrates these competencies into deep sense of what it means to minister. A typical student takes two to five years to prepare for ministerial leadership. Introduced two years ago, the mid-degree assessment process provides the student an opportunity for self-assessment that includes feedback from peers, mentors, faculty, academic advisor, and formation director. Because it unfolds over time, ministerial formation is never complete. Mid-degree assessment provides students a pivotal opportunity to re-envision their readiness for ministry by presenting to a faculty committee the following:

Personally, the mid-degree assessment process created an opportunity for structured feedback on my work and personal growth in my first two years. As students, we are constantly evaluated in the classroom through our writing, discussions and tests. Mid-degree assessment gave me a way to sit down with a group of peers and professors who know me and have seen the areas I have grown in as well the areas that I could strengthen. While I do a lot of self-reflection through the Master of Divinity program, I was able to verbalize my thoughts in a safe environment and hear others’ feedback. One insight I gained was about my participation in the classroom. Listening is a good skill to have; however, contribution to the conversation is equally important, especially in classes. I am very good at the former but need to gain confidence at the latter. An area that was affirmed by my peers and my faculty committee was my steady presence that often brings peace to a class or situation. These two areas were not entirely new for me, but when others are seeing similar things in me, positive or negative, it affirms my self-reflection and allows me to continue growing as both a person and a minister.

• a clearly articulated personal philosophy/vision of ministry • an assessment of the gifts and skills, strengths and weaknesses, challenges and successes gained to this point • a statement of future goals for professional and ministerial growth • a description of how he or she is addressing the knowledge and skills called for in the areas of human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual formation found in Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord (lay ecclesial ministers), Program for Priestly Formation (seminarians) or the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (deacon candidates) • theological reflection on how the process of preparing for ministry fits together with the student’s developing understanding of God’s work in the world and in the student’s life. The process moves a student beyond ‘what to do’ for ministry to more deliberate and intentional reflection on the call to ministry and its practices. 14

TENDING THE VISION, ADVANCING THE MISSION The general shape and purpose of theological schools might lead one to conclude that there is really “nothing new under the sun.” After all, every school needs an expert faculty, talented students, classrooms, a blue ribbon library, and chapel. Students go to class, write papers, complete field work, participate in liturgy, and hopefully grow in wisdom and faith. These are some of the building blocks of a theological school. But running throughout the life of a school, especially a theological school like Saint John’s, is a vision that defines its purpose and drives it forward. Our vision asserts that we will cultivate our Catholic, Benedictine tradition as we excel as an influential community of theological learning where study, prayer, and hospitable dialogue expand understanding and deepen vocation for the sake of building up vibrant Christian communities. Bold words demanding hard work on everyone’s part. Everyone knows that once the vision has been written – and that sometimes is the easy part – there has to be a commitment to realize it. Two members of the Board of Overseers shared what motivates them to invest their time, talent, and treasure in advancing the mission of the School of Theology·Seminary.

Monsignor James Dillenburg I am a retired priest of the diocese of Green Bay and a graduate of the school. My interest in serving on the board comes from both those sources. As a pastor, I know how critical solid grounding in theology and ministry is for the vitality of parishes. Helping a school like Saint John’s see the parish and Christian life through my eyes can hopefully deepen its understanding of the challenges and dreams we have “out here.” At the same time, I know what being a graduate of Saint John’s has meant for me. What I contribute to the Board is part of my repayment of a debt of gratitude. From my perspective, every school of theology seeks to recruit the best professors possible, giving students every opportunity to develop their talents. Where I believe the tipping point lies is in the “extras” a school can offer. Analogously, these can be the difference between a Christian Ponder and an Aaron Rodgers: both good athletes but… As our world and church become more secularized, ministers must be well-prepared to meet the challenges of evangelizing skeptics and agnostics. Fundamental scholarship that encourages creative, critical thinking is a basic tool to meet such challenges. Pastoral ministers need to be able to think theologically – not just know the answer. Prayer is the energy source behind all Christian learning and leadership. Praying well and leading others in prayer are learned best by participating in inspirational communal prayer. What the Abbey models daily sets the pace for all the opportunities the SOT·Sem provides for prayer. In addition, through the Abbey, University and HMML, Saint John’s offers an enormous reservoir of history and expertise. Saint John’s reputation and leadership in areas of liturgy, patristics, and ecclesiology are highly respected not only in this country but throughout the world. Our students have access to all this as an “ordinary” part of their learning experience. Most important, personal formation must be part of theological education if a student is being prepared for ministry. It is the difference between learning job skills and being anchored in vocation. As a place of prayer and study, Saint John’s believes in the formative power of community and strives to cultivate a sense of community under rapidly changing circumstances. Formation here flows from the development of a relationship with God “where God lives.” For me, that is in the people so that attention to searching for God in relationships is the difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone, knowing God or knowing about God. To be deprived of this experience of community is to be shortchanged in preparation for effective ministry. continued on page 16

15 15

Tending the Vision, continued from page 15

My appreciation for the SOT·Sem is what it offers the world through its graduates – people ready to walk with others on their faith journeys as they prepare them to joyfully meet their God faceto-face in eternity.

Marcia Hanson We are facing “new” issues within the institutional church in the US. Many in the next generation don’t belong to or recognize the benefits of being a committed member of a faith community. This generation, though, is very spiritual and generous. Quite a conundrum. Theology schools should be places where pastoral leaders develop the skills and strategies to reach this generation with God’s love and Word. We want our descendants to know God and live out the gospel, with a community that supports them. I believe Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary is a place where that work flourishes. My enthusiasm for having a vision statement and a mission comes from knowing what a difference they can make when there is a strategic plan to make them realities. Our strategic plan allows us all to see where we are headed as an institution and how we will get there. And the strategic plan gives us the ability to measure our progress toward our goals. As a member of the Board of Overseers, I feel charged to do everything possible to provide the faculty, staff and students the needed resources for success. My own journey to Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary was an answer to prayer. Upon retirement, during my late fifties, I prayed that God would lead to me to a place where I could use the skills learned over my career as a business leader and the gifts God has given me to spread the gospel. His answer was the SOT·Sem. One of the abilities I brought was belief in and experience at strategic planning. If I were to try to articulate what God’s “strategic plan” is for the SOT·Sem, I might begin with what we read in Jeremiah: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Our hope lies in the contribution we make in spreading God’s word and God’s love. Our future depends on our capacity to be laser-focused in our use of resources which is why we spend a lot of time on planning. If there is no plan, there isn’t a way to make wise choices for the work we need to do.

In late May, Fr. Michael Patella, OSB led a group from the Board of Overseers and Saint John ‘s staff and friends in exploring biblical and historical sites in Turkey and Greece. Here the group is standing before the Holy Monastery of the Metamorphosis (also known as the Great Meteoron)in Kalambaka, Greece.


FROM THE ABBOT Leading With Joy Abbot John Klassen, OSB

clear about this: the ultimate “proof� of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believing community (Romans 8:9-11).

Rejoice, shout praise and thanks, savor the miracle of the resurrection! These are the exhortations that continue to flow from the Easter season throughout the church year. Following the lead of Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel, I wish to situate the discussion of joy in a Christian theological framework.

We experience joy because of our belief in the good news, because with Saint Paul, we are always sharing in the dying and rising of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7-11). The battle has been fought and it was won!! This does not mean that we are happy all the time, that the tragic events of our time do not fill us with sadness. Those events include the senseless killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the loss of dear family members or friends, or our seeming inability as a species to find nonviolent ways toward peace. Joy is not a psychological trick that allows us to fly at 20,000 feet above the pain and suffering of our world. Joy is walking with the two disciples back to Jerusalem after encountering the Risen Lord.

For Christian people, joy is a gift, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. To speak of joy is to acknowledge the universe created by a Trinitarian God. The Spirit breathes on the waters of a formless void and the creative word is spoken to unfold the heavens and the earth, making a place for humankind. We experience joy as we discover the incredible sophistication and balance that is present in complex ecosystems. In the midst of the violence and randomness that are present in powerful physical events such as tsunamis, earthquakes and tornadoes, the universe has within it the healing, renewing power of the Holy Spirit; new life is always emerging.

As Christians we are baptized into this dying and rising of Jesus Christ, grafted onto this mystery and blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In our leadership as ministers, teachers, and healers, it is utterly important to nourish and to be pastorally aware of the Paschal Mystery as we create budgets, celebrate First Communions and Confirmations, comfort the dying, and evaluate the work of the year. Joy is one expression of our trust in the promise of the resurrection, our hope in the ultimate victory of Christ. May it be one of those reoccurring notes in every song we sing as we journey along the path of a living faith.

The Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ draws us into his dying and rising and provides a powerful theological framework for understanding and internalizing this mystery in our own lives. At the Vigil of Easter, we sing, proclaim, and exalt with joy in this holy mystery. To the extent that we are able to see, recognize, and trust this saving pattern and action in our lives, we live in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul is


FINANCING THE CALL TO SERVE: Some Reflections on Ministry, Money, and Theological Education Daniel Aleshire, Executive Director The Association of Theological Schools

Delivered at a meeting of the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers Project, April 2014 Most ministers do not make as much as they should, in my judgment, but as best I can tell, most of them figure out how to make sense of their income and learn to settle into its limitations. They have been called to this work after all, and they are doing what they were created to do. All of them know that money is not everything and that ministry is full of patterns of nonmaterial reward that compensate with meaning in ways that money seldom does…[Still] there may be more agreement about the nature of the Holy Trinity than there is about the proper compensation for persons who seek to serve in religious vocations….

Saint John’s is one of 65 theological schools around the country that received a grant to study graduate student debt, the costs of theological education, and the changing financial realities of modern parishes.

Ministers, congregations, and denominations have difficulty thinking about compensating the call to service. While they must sort through this issue with careful theological reflection, they can also theologize themselves into road blocks and cul-de-sacs that shed little light on what to do. They need theological underpinnings, but the solution will not be a set of good theological constructions; it will be a set of concrete practices and acquiring the motivation to use those practices…. If we don’t get student debt down, we put unreasonable and impossible expectations on future compensation. If compensation rose to accommodate the debt of a growing number of students, then it could compromise their moral and religious authority to lead. If we act as institutions and individuals as if there is not enough, then we ignore the reality that God has the resources to accomplish God’s purposes. If we think we will solve the problem, we fail to recognize its enduring complexity. If we do nothing about it, we fail to be faithful. Use this link to read the entire presentation:


Theology Day.

Connecting Theology to Life

“The Liturgical Reading of the Gospel of Mark” - Charles Bobertz Sept. 12 Oct. 3 Oct. 14 May 12

- 8:30 a.m - 8:30 a.m - 6 p.m. - 6 p.m.

- Emmaus Hall, SJU - Emmaus Hall, SJU - Pax Christi Catholic Church, Eden Prarie - St. Frances Cabrini Church, Minneapolis

“The Future of American Catholicism: Lessons from the Young Church” - Jeffery Kaster Sept. 25 Oct. 31 Nov. 14 Nov. 20

- 6 p.m - 8:30 a.m - 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

- Church of Saint Mary, Alexandria - Emmaus Hall, SJU - Emmaus Hall, SJU - Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis

“Mary in History and Theology” - Fr. Michael Patella, OSB Dec. 5 Jan. 30 Feb. 13 April 9 May 7

- 8:30 a.m - 8:30 a.m - 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. - 6 p.m.

- Emmaus Hall, SJU - Emmaus Hall, SJU - Community of the Blessed Sacrament, Scottsdale, Arizona - Church of Saint Mary, Alexandria - Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis

“Responsibility, Leadership, and Change: The Challenges of an Adult Church” - William Cahoy Feb. 1

- 11 a.m.

- Saint John Vianney Parish, Omaha, Nebraska

“The Changing Seasons of the Moral Life” - Kathy Lilla Cox March 20 March 26 March 28 April 17 April 28

- 8:30 a.m - 6 p.m - 8:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.

- Emmaus Hall, SJU - Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, California - Saint Paul the Apostle Parish, Los Angeles, California - Emmaus Hall, SJU - Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Maple Grove

Watch our website for current dates and locations - events may be cancelled or added. Start times indicate when check-in opens; presentations will begin about 30 minutes later.

Registration is required: or call 320-363-3570 There is no cost for attending Theology Day. 19

FACULTY– STAFF UPDATES Charles Bobertz was the principle presenter at the two-day ongoing formation of clergy workshop for the Diocese of Grand Island held the end of March. He spoke on “A Liturgical Reading of the Passion Narratives.” He published “The Gospel According to Mark,” 2015 Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons and Weekdays: The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy (Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2014) and ”That by His Passion He Might Purify the Water”: Ignatius of Antioch and the Beginning of Mark’s Gospel” in Foundation and Facets Forum 3 (2014).

of a five-day conference on “Empirical Foundations of the Common Good,” Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, Los Angeles, June 25–29, 2014. In March he received the Civic Engagement Steward Award from the Minnesota Campus Compact. During the spring semester, Dan was a featured presenter in the Theology Day series. He topic was “Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Thinking Clearly about Economic Complicity.” Jeff Kaster gave a presentation, “Sustaining Christian Discipleship,” at the Princeton Theological Seminary Forum on Youth Ministry in late April and another presentation titled, “The Secret Lives of Gay Catholic Youth Ministers” at the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry Conference in New Orleans in September. Together with Craig Gould (MA, 2013), he published “Lost and Found: Catechesis on the Care of Creation” in New Theology Review, 26(2), 2014.

Kathleen A. Cahalan was co-editor with Gordon Mikoski of Opening the Field of Practical Theology, recently published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. She gave three presentations at the Association of Graduate Programs In Ministry (AGPIM) conference in February: “Overview of Pastoral and Practical Theology in the Catholic Context,” “Models of Integration in Theological and Professional Education,” and “Integration in Theological Education Curriculums.” She led a retreat for the School of Lectio Divina at St. Paul Monastery, St. Paul, Minnesota, in March and continues to serve on the board of the Wabash Center for the Teaching and Learning of Theology and Religion. Kathleen is also on the advisory board for a three-year project on theological education at Chandler School of Theology called Basic Issues, Changing Times.

Annie McGowan and her husband Patrick announce the birth of Neil Francis McGowan born February 27. He weighed in at 9 lbs., 2 oz. and was 21 inches long. Annie is an adjunct instructor in liturgy and will be on the faculty through spring semester 2015. Anthony Ruff, OSB was one of two presenters at Westminster Abbey in London for a “Song of God” seminar on music and participation on January 31, 2014. He was a keynote presenter at a symposium at Huffington Ecumenical Institute of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in February. The symposium was on chant and contemporary liturgical music, and Fr. Anthony spoke on evaluation of contemporary compositions.

Daniel Finn is editor of Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics recently published by Oxford University Press. His presentations in the past six months include: “A Relational View of Law and Economics: Thinking of the Market as a Social Structure” (Association for Social Economics, Philadelphia, Jan. 2014); “Reciprocity and the ‘Logic of Gift’: Pope Benedict XVI’s Proposals for Humanizing the Market,” Dominican University, Chicago, Feb. 2014); “Building Better Economies: Why Popes and Economists Need to Talk,” “The Moral Ecology of Markets and the Global Economy,” and “Structural Sin, Moral Complicity, and Moral Agency in Complex Economic Relations,” (Fordham University, March 2014); “Altruism and Self-Interest in Economic Thought” (Lumen Christi Conference, University of Chicago, April 2014); and “Economics as if People Mattered” (St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA, April 2014). In addition to his writing and speaking, Dan is co-director of the research project, The True Wealth of Nations, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, University of Southern California, and was organizer and convener

Barbara Sutton coordinated and facilitated a 3-day planning session in January with national partners for the third lay ecclesial ministry symposium slated for 2017. Later that month, she attended the biennial consultation of the Catholic Association for Theological Field Education at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary in Mount Angel, Oregon. Barbara serves on the steering committee for the Association. In February, she became president of the Association for Graduate Programs in Ministry (AGPIM) at the annual conference held in Tucson. She also led a retreat for Disciples of Christ pastors in March at Bethany College in West Virginia, and a retreat for people involved with bereavement ministry for the Diocese of Phoenix in May.


MILESTONES Bill Griffiths (MA, Liturgical Studies, 2007) finished up last year in his Canberra-based position as CEO of the (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference) National Catholic Education Commission. He and his wife Maryellen (both Oblates of Saint John’s Abbey) have returned to Adelaide (capital city of South Australia) to live. The Bishops Conference has recently appointed Bill to the National Liturgical Council and to the National Liturgical Music Board.

direction, programs, and retreats, and for nearly 40 years has offered a three-year Spiritual Directors Preparation Program. Aaron Raverty, OSB (MDiv, 1977) had his book, Refuge in Crestone: A Sanctuary for Interreligious Dialogue, published by Lexington Books (Lanham, Maryland, 2014). It investigates how the practice of interreligious dialogue might be enhanced by engaging the qualitative ethnographic methods of sociocultural anthropology. In so doing, it seeks to further the development of a Christian theology of religions and thus uncover the creative interdisciplinary nexus between anthropology and theology. He holds a doctorate in anthropology. Fr. Raverty also served on the SOT Board of Overseers from 2009– 2011.

Sister Frances Nosbisch, OSF (MA, 1989) is currently the acting director of the Cardinal Kelvin Felix Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre in St. Lucia, West Indies. In addition to its service to the local diocese, the Centre has expanded to offer tourist retreats. More information can be found at Michael Pomedli (BA, 1960, MDiv, 1974) recently published Living with Animals: Ojibwe Spirit Powers (University Toronto Press). Some research for this volume came from Saint John’s Abbey Archives and was published as an article for Worship (1996) on Virgil Michel’s missionary work among the Chippewa. Living with Animals examines the Ojibwe/Chippwa medicine society and provides an Aboriginal context for the treaties. Michael’s wife, Joan Halmo, PhD (MA, 1982) has published with Liturgical Press and in Worship. They reside in Saskatoon, Sask. Canada.

Jeff (MA, 2010) and Natalie Regan welcome the birth of their baby girl, Brigid Niamh Perl Regan, 20 inches long and weighing 7 lbs. Natalie served as past director of admissions. Bryan and Megan Kelsey Rodriguez welcome the birth of their baby boy, Augustine Thomson “Gus,” 21.5 inches long and weighing 6 lbs., 15 oz. Megan is currently enrolled in the MA in Pastoral Ministry program and is a graduate of the College of Saint Benedict. Andy Witchger (MA, 2007) was selected as Holy Family High School’s 2013–2014 Lasallian Educator of the Year. He has been on the faculty since 2007.

Audrey Quanrud (MA, 2011) was appointed director of the Franciscan Spirituality Center, a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The FSC offers spiritual

In Hope of the Resurrection Alums

Relatives, Friends and Donors of the School of Theology.Seminary

1956 – Fr. Daniel Durken, OSB

Rev. Donald Berg

Daniel T. Leetch

1965 – S. Imelda Koch, OSB

Jackie Breher

Ralph Loehning

1960 – Fr. James R. Lins

Ruby Dommer

Raymond Loxtercamp

1967 – Fr. Richard McGuire

Norbert Donnay

Ethel Meagher

1956 – Fr. Leo Otto

Edward Eckroth

Hon Roger J. Nierengarten

1966 – Sr. Mildred Wannemuehler, OSB

Eleanor Hoff

Bernice O’Brien

Mathias Hondl

Flores Hillman Ottenhoff

Rev. Dr. Francis E. Horner

Mary Thelen

Gregory A. Jenniges

Richard Welle

Thomas Johnston

Alphonse “Mike” Zapf

Pauline Kluetsch

Leonard Zylla

Student Br. Aelred Reid, OSB

Felix Koenig 21

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT A Collaboration of Love Grace Ellens Director of Development

None of us works alone. Last fall, when nearly a thousand people met at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud to participate in Diocesan Ministry Day, Father Tony Oelrich, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral, issued an important reminder to the participants: everybody’s gifts are important. “We are all called,” he said. “And we are all called at every stage of life.” Nobody can go it alone, and nobody needs to. In fact, we all need each other’s precious gifts and to have others with whom we can share our most precious gifts. The story about Fr. Tony and his leadership of a cluster of parishes in St. Cloud in this issue bears testimony to this insight.

Similarly, your diverse gifts are important to us! Each year we count on the collaboration of so many: benefactors from near and far, alums, members of the SOT faculty and staff, and the monks and sisters of Saint John’s Abbey and Saint Benedict’s Monastery. All of you give of yourselves in ways it is virtually impossible for me to recognize and celebrate adequately. Though I thank you, I know I cannot thank you enough! One of the ways we express our appreciation is in continuing to host Theology Days. This is a ministry which allows our faculty, and sometimes our alums, to share their knowledge and experience with groups beyond the campus. These are wonderful occasions to engage fresh ideas about living as faithful disciples in the world. Just recently, one of our Theology Days featured the work of August Turak, a former student of Saint John’s, who has spent nearly two decades analyzing the business success of the Trappist monks of Our Lady of Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina. In his book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, Turak emphasizes that service and selflessness must be at the heart of any kind of success, financial or otherwise.

This is a good reminder as we celebrate the tremendous efforts and accomplishments of over twenty of our students graduating this year. They will quickly put their MDiv, ThM or MA in Theology, Liturgical Studies, or Pastoral Ministry to immediate work in various contexts – churches, families, businesses, schoolrooms, hospitals – and sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways! What I want to emphasize here is your contribution to the success of our graduates. Like Father Oelrich’s parish communities, we at the School of Theology do our work with a great sense of partnership. As our mission statement says, “We commit ourselves to academic, spiritual, pastoral, and professional formation so we might serve the church in lay and ordained ministry, and thus use our diverse gifts for the transformation of our world.” Those diverse gifts are important to us! Whether those gifts be icon-writing, reading Hebrew, singing Gregorian chant, composing a setting for a psalm, capturing life on film, helping a parishioner, running a parish, playing the organ, exegeting Scripture, or writing scholarly articles, we know that there is a world out there waiting to be ministered to by our students.

This inspires me as I consider the attitude needed to foster and maintain our success as a center of learning for the pastoral and teaching mission of the church. Our financial stability must be grounded in the same attitude that serves as a foundation for the monks at Mepkin Abbey – we flourish to the degree that all we do serves a wider mission of equipping the next generation of chaplains, liturgists, priests, deacons, teachers, musicians, and lay ecclesial ministers to contribute to the transformation of the world. It is a steep challenge, but one we do not meet alone. It is your support, financially and spiritually, that makes our work a collaboration of love and joy for the Gospel.

THEOLOGY DAY SCHEDULE FOR 2014-15 Grace Ellens, director of development, announced the schedule of topics for the upcoming Theology Day Series. “Once again we have faculty working on presentations that explore interesting and important topics for us to consider,” Ms. Ellens said. Presentations are held in Collegeville, Alexandria, at various Twin Cities locations, and out of state. Full information is available on our website,

“The Liturgical Reading of the Gospel of Mark” – Charles Bobertz (Sept. 12, Oct. 3, Oct. 14, and May 12)

“The Future of American Catholicism: Lessons from the Young Church” – Jeffery Kaster (Sept. 25, Oct. 31, Nov. 14, Nov. 20)

“Mary in History and Theology” – Fr. Michael Patella, OSB (Dec. 5, Jan. 30, Feb. 13, Apr. 9, May 7)

“Responsibility, Leadership, and Change: The Challenges of an Adult Church” – William Cahoy (Feb. 1)

“The Changing Seasons of the Moral Life” – Kathy Lilla Cox (Mar. 20, Mar. 26, Apr. 17, Apr. 28)




Patrick Maxwell

John Boyle

Kay Mrachek

Bonita Brever

Len Mrachek

Thomas Brever

Joe Mucha

Msgr. James Dillenburg

Mary Ann Okner

John Erhart

David Pedersen

Daniel Fazendin

Mary Jo Pedersen

Lynn Fazendin

Karen Rose, OSB

Jerrad Fenske

Dr. Gene Scapanski

Rev. Robert Flannery

Marilyn Scapanski

Daniel Frie

Mary Schaffner

Mary Ochsner Haeg

Fr. Mark Scott, OCSO

Marcia Hanson

Dennis Smid

Michael Hemesath

Ernie Stelzer

Bishop Donald Kettler

Mary Stelzer

Abbot John Klassen, OSB

Paul Steingraeber

Debra Koop

Connie Suchta

Steven Koop

Stan Suchta

Robert Lee

Dr. Frank Wilderson, Jr.

Thomas Manthey

Idalorraine Wilderson

Dean William J. Cahoy Director of Development Grace Ellens Editor Victor Klimoski Contributors Dr. William Cahoy Grace Ellens Fr. Michael Patella, OSB Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB Dr. Barbara Sutton Bailey Walter Photography Paul Middlestaedt CSBSJU Communications Conversatio is published twice each year. Comments, questions, corrections, story ideas?

Jeannie Kenevan 320-363-2964


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Saint John’s University

P.O. Box 5866 Collegeville, MN 56321


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Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary


September 12, October 3 & 14

The Liturgical Reading of the Gospel of Mark – Charles Bobertz, Ph.D.

September 18

School of Theology·Seminary Benefit Dinner

September 25, October 3, November 14 & 20 The Future of American Catholicism: Lessons from the Young Church – Jeffery Kaster, Ed.D. October 2

Annual Conversatio Lifelong Learning Lecture & Dinner

October 4

Saint John’s Homecoming

October 12–17

Toolbox for Pastoral Management

October 22

Vatican II and Ecumenism: Part III Unitatis redintegratio, the Decree on Ecumenism Elizabeth Groppe, PhD, Director for the Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary’s College

October 27–29

Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord: Voices Across the Generations

December 5, January 30

Mary in History and Theology – Michael Patella, OSB

For full details, go to