Contemporary Catholic Conversations

2018 - 2019

Sacred Heart University’s Office of Mission and Catholic Identity will host the annual series “Contemporary Catholic Conversations” during the 2018-2019 academic year. The Sacred Heart community is committed to opening up campus as a forum for questions and concerns that face the Church in today’s world. All are welcome for this intellectually stimulating series. All questions and opinions will be honored and respected.

The talks in this series are free and open to the public. All events will be live streamed. Visit on the day of each event for the URL. Sponsored by the Office of Mission and Catholic Identity, the Curtis Center and the Human Journey Colloquia Series.


Dan Schutte
September 16: Disciples of Hope
Dan Schutte, American Composer of Catholic Liturgical Music and Contemporary Christian Composer

2 p.m. | Concert 7 p.m. | Mass of the Holy Spirit with Dan Schutte joining the student Liturgical Choir Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Join us for an afternoon concert with Dan Schutte, one of the best-known composers of Catholic music for liturgy. Some of his most celebrated songs are “Here I Am, Lord,” “City of God,” and “Sing a New Song.” 



September 26: Faith and Public Life
Connecticut State Representatives Cristin McCarthy-Vahey (D) and Tom O’Dea (R)

Tom O'DeaCristin McCarthy Vahey

7 p.m. | University Commons

How, when and where do you draw the line between church and state? Is there a line? Faith, conscience or religion? How do these impact legislative decision making? Should they? Cristin McCarthy-Vahey has represented the 133rd district in Fairfield since 2015 and Tom O’Dea has represented the 125th district in New Canaan and Wilton since 2013. The two will talk about how individual faith journeys can impact decisions made in Hartford.


November 7: Kristallnacht KristallnachtCommemoration: Zachor (Remember)
Holocaust survivor, Judith Altmann

2 p.m. | Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Holocaust survivor Judith Altmann, who was arrested and transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, will tell her story of survival and hope. Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass,” took place in Germany in 1938 and was the violent event during which Nazis broke the windows of Jewish businesses, schools and synagogues, resulting in death, arrests and the beginning stages of the Holocaust.


February 6: Annual Bergoglio Lecture: Doctrine, Spirituality, Pastorality, Vatican II and Pope Francis
Fr. John O’Malley, University Professor in the Department of Theology at Georgetown University

7 p.m. | University Commons There will be a special Academic Convocation in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at 2 p.m

Vatican II is commonly described as a pastoral council, yet few councils have taught as many important truths and no council has so clearly related those truths to our real lives. What does this mean and how does it relate to Pope Francis?


February 27: A Jewish, Christian, Muslim Conversation: Texts that Unite, Texts that Divide
Rabbi Marcelo Kormis, Fr. Anthony Ciorra and Imam Gazmend Aga

2 p.m. | University Commons

Spiritual scholars gather to explore the importance of dialogue among leaders of various religions in the 21st century.

Morcelo KormisGazmend AgaFr. Anthony Ciorra

March 13: Afraid to Say the “P” Word? If So, Why?

Mary Healey-Sedutto, Executive Director of Hope for a Healthier Humanity 

7 p.m. | University Commons

Pope Francis and Catholic teaching tell us that we must denaturalize extreme poverty and stop seeing it as a mere statistic rather than a reality. Poverty has a face; it is a human condition. Yet the language of many who labor in the fields of international relief and social development often excludes reference to the poor. Terms such as “economically challenged” are used instead. Possible reasons for such reluctance to using the “P” word will be explored as well as consideration of how we might recognize and embrace the many faces of poverty.


April 10: Rock and Roll Testimony: Finding the Sacred in Guitar, Bass and Drums
Dan Nantais, Director of Mission and Community Benefit at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Mich., and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy

7 p.m. | Martire Forum

Explore the spiritual power of popular music and connect your spiritual life with the music you love.

View 2017-2018 Contemporary Catholic Conversations