Explore the role of laity in witnessing the faith, living the Trinity in daily life

January 30, 2015

Abbey NOV2009

Mesa, Ariz. ~ The call of the Second Vatican Council for the laity to witness the faith in daily life and engage in temporal affairs to put things the way God would want them has largely gone unheeded.

The Department of Theology at Benedictine University will explore this call to evangelism during a lecture by Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., titled "The 24/7 Christian: The Secular Vocation of the Laity" at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 6, as well as during a workshop from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, titled "Living the Trinity in Daily Life."

Both the lecture and the workshop will be held in the Community Room of Gillett Hall at 225 E. Main St. in downtown Mesa. Both events are free and open to the public.

"The New Evangelization is the mission all of us have to witness to our faith, especially to fellow Catholics who have drifted away from the Church," said Fletcher, associate professor of Theology on Benedictine's Lisle, Ill., campus.

"The Council called on the laity to be part of the Church's mission in several ways, primarily to witness to the faith we have received by the integrity of our lives –so it is just as important to pay just wages and treat others with respect as it is to follow the rules about sex," she added.

Fletcher's lecture will explore the Vatican II documents "Lumen Gentium," "Gaudium et Spes" and "Apostolicam Actuositatem," which outline the laity's responsibilities within the "New Evangelization."

"The Council called on laity to do what priests and religious cannot do –work in the secular realm, in politics, business, health care, journalism and entertainment to end injustice and re-order things to the way God would have them be," Fletcher said.

"We know that involves treating the earth with care and respect, sharing our goods so that everyone has enough, and caring for all life including those who are old, sick or unwanted and not hating those who are different from us," she added.

The workshop on Saturday, March 7, will feature prayer, two breakout sessions and two presentations: "The Trinity: Our Most Mysterious and Misunderstood Doctrine" and "Making the Trinity a Lived Reality: the Artist and the Trinity." Lunch will be available for a nominal $5 fee.

The Diocese of Phoenix will grant one continuing education credit (CEU) for students of the Kino Institute or teachers and lay ministers seeking re-certification who attend either event. Someone who attends both events will be granted two CEUs.

To RSVP for either event, contact Leana Lowery at llowery@ben.edu or (480) 878-6709.

Reinforcing the Catholic Identity

Though Benedictine University at Mesa welcomes students of all faiths or no faith, it believes it is necessary to provide programming that affirms its Catholic identity and traditions, which play a vital role in holistically shaping its graduates to be leaders in their communities.

Benedictine's Center for Mission and Identity (CMI) supports the ongoing development of Catholic social teaching and the Catholic intellectual tradition at the Mesa branch campus.

In November, the CMI's Visiting Scholar in Catholic Thought series featured William C. Mattison III, Ph.D., an expert in the area of fundamental moral theology and the virtue and work of St. Thomas Aquinas, who lectured on Jesus' Beatitudes and their significance on virtue and Christian life at the famous Sermon on the Mount.

Also last fall, Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., assistant to the president for mission integration, led a workshop to help faculty identify ways they can further implement the Catholic and Benedictine mission and strengthen institutional practices that better reflect the University's Catholic heritage and identity across campus.

"This is such a unique time in our history for CMI to reach students in Mesa, demonstrating solidarity of purpose and growth in our love of God, love of learning and love for each other," Tait said.

CMI will continue to sponsor lectures and events for faculty, staff, students and the surrounding community, she added.

Since its inception in 2005, the CMI has supported and reinforced the Catholic and Benedictine mission, vision and character of the institution. CMI seeks to communicate a common mission, provide programming that supports the University's Catholic identity and Benedictine heritage, and nurture a culture of lifelong learning, responsible leadership, social engagement, and religious and cultural dialogue within the entire University community.


Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2000-2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014.

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