Missionary Symposium Challenges Students to Transform Lives
Benedictine College event features Bishop Robert Morlino, Curtis Martin and Dr. Jonathan Reyes
- Tuesday, April 09, 2013
The Institute for Missionary Activity at Benedictine College challenged students and visitors in its second Symposium on the New Evangelization April 5-6.
Titled “Building a Culture of Freedom,” the conference featured scholarly and practical talks on the Church’s response to new threats to religious liberty.
Nearly 300 people attended the conference which featured presenters from across the country and three keynote speakers: Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis.; Curtis Martin, the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS); and Dr. Jonathan Reyes, head of the U.S. bishops’ Justice, Peace and Human Development Department.
Dozens of presenters and all three keynote speakers suggested ways that the Catholic Church can respond to the critical challenges of our day.
Bishop Morlino suggested that beauty is a good entrée to the truth. “Beauty is not, in fact, simply in the eye of the beholder, from the viewpoint of reason,” he said. “For reason tells us that beautiful, good, true, and one are interchangeable; therefore, whatever is beautiful is also good and true, and expresses unity and harmony.”
Martin called for a greater commitment on the part of Catholics to evangelization. “Our greatest impediment is within us we've been tasked with raising the dead but we are in a coma,” said Martin. “Do not presuppose the faith, but propose it. The Church exists to make people children of God, not to make them behave.”
Finally Reyes stressed the primary importance of service to the poor to the mission of the Gospel. He said “we have a rather amazing moment to preach the Gospel to the modern world, in spite of all the challenges … namely, the Church’s mission to the poor and the preaching the Gospel.”
President Stephen D. Minnis presented Bishop Morlino with a John Paul II Distinguished Speaker Award, an award which Curtis Martin also recently received. Minnis presented Dr. Reyes with the college’s Do Something Beautiful for God award in recognition of his work for the poor.
“Benedictine College is called the flagship college of the New Evangelization because of initiatives like the Institute for Missionary Activity,” said President Stephen D. Minnis. “We can’t thank David Trotter enough for organizing this symposium, which has been an incredibly valuable contribution to the life of the Church.”
David Trotter, director of the Institute for Missionary Activity said he was pleased with the symposium, but that the real test of the conference comes after it is over. “Benedictine College sent students on 34 mission trips this year,” he said. “The real fruit of the Institute for Missionary Activity is in the fields, where we put into practice the ideas and plans we make at events like the Symposium.”
Anne Crouch, Senior Art Major from Mountain Hill, Ark., was one of the student participants.
“Benedictine College does a great service in providing a symposium like this,” she said. “It’s a great honor that we can have so many established and influential speakers come to our school and delve into questions that are so relevant to our society.”
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.