Windows on Theology

Windows on Theology – Regis College’s continuous learning series – offers non-credit courses of six to eight sessions on topical issues in scripture, church history, pastoral studies, and theology.
Interested members of the public of all ages and life stages are encouraged to register.

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

 

Click here to download the Understanding Sacred Space course outline

 

 

Throughout history, architecture has played a major role in giving tangible, meaningful expression to a particular culture’s beliefs, values, hopes, and aspirations.  Arguably, this is most profoundly expressed in the sacred spaces that we build.  This course will explore the nature of sacred space, how we define it, how we understand it, and how it influences our own worship experience in the contemporary context. By examining Western Religious Architecture from the pre-Christian era to the 21st century we will explore how the style of Christian Architecture evolved in response to major external influences, and changing ways in which we came to understand our relationship to God and Creation.  Participants will also learn to understand their own places of worship and how they either support or detract from evoking a sense of the sacred, the liturgy, and sacramental life of the parish.

 

Themes by Week

 

  1. Interrupting the Profane: This initial class will explore the nature of sacred architecture as “space set aside” from the everyday realm for the purposes of religious rituals and observances.  What are the defining characteristics that distinguish sacred space from the quotidian and provide access to the spiritual, ineffable, and transcendent realms?  Referencing actual examples, we will explore sacred space as centre, as meeting point, as microcosm of the heavenly realm, and as immanent-transcendent presence, the four functions that define sacred space according to theologian Harold W. Turner in his book From Temple to Meeting House: The Phenomenology and Theology of Places of Worship.
  2. Meaning in Western Religious Architecture: “The Pre-Christian Era”: Throughout history, architecture has played a major role in giving tangible, meaningful expression to a culture’s beliefs, values, hopes, and aspirations.  Arguably, this is most evident in the sacred spaces that we build.  Drawing from seminal work by Christian Norberg-Schultz, we will explore the meaning of sacred space within cultures dating from the early Egyptian dynasties, Greek, Roman, early Christian, and Romanesque, eras. 
  3. Meaning in Western Religious Architecture: “From the Romanesque to the Rococo”: This week we will continue our historical exploration of western sacred architecture from the Romanesque through the Early and Late Gothic periods, the Renaissance, Reformation, Baroque, and Rococo periods and how the changes reflected external influences and evolving understandings of our relationship to God and Creation.
  4. Sacred Space in the 21st Century: This week, we will explore the design of sacred space in the context of the 20th century. How did the tenets of modern architecture and the international Style affect the design of Christian sacred space?  Examples will be drawn from leading architects of the 20th century.  Did a defining style of western sacred architecture emerge in the 20th century.
  5. Sacred Space in the Contemporary Canadian Context: The first half of the class will examine “Sacrosanctum Consilium”, Vatican II’s Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, and its influence on “Our Place of Worship” and “Built of Living Stones”, documents published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and their American counterparts to assist parishes in the design and renovation of worship spaces.  Examples will be drawn from the presenter’s 25 years of experience designing worship spaces for parishes within the Roman Catholic tradition and other Christian denominations.  The remaining time will be devoted to exploring class participant’s own worship spaces with the goal of providing greater understanding and insight into how those spaces either support or detract from a sense of the sacred through engagement of the senses, the liturgical action that unfolds within those spaces, and the sacramental life of the faith community.
  6. Sacred Space in the 21st Century: This final class will examine the context of sacred space design in the 21st century, exploring influences from eco-theology, indigenous cultures, other faith traditions, digital technologies, and the impacts on those who have suffered the loss of sacred places through conflict and migration.

 

About the Instructor

 

Click here to download Roberto Chiotti’s bio

Roberto Chiotti, BES, BARCH, MTS, OAA, FRAIC, LEED® AP, CAHP, APT
Principal, Larkin Architect Limited

Roberto Chiotti is a Toronto architect and founding partner of Larkin Architect Limited, an award-winning firm specializing in the design of Sacred Space for the past 25 years. This work is further informed by his Master of Theological Studies degree from University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, with a specialty in Theology and Ecology granted by the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology at St. Michael’s.  With over 150 building projects completed for religious communities and parishes across Ontario, Roberto has developed significant expertise in liturgical design, facilitating the design process for sacred space, giving expression to theological imperatives within architectural form, and the integration of sustainable design principles for sacred space.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and has served on the Archdiocese of Toronto Sacred Art and Architecture Committee, the Liturgy Commission for the St. Paul of the Cross, Passionist Province, and currently serves on the board for the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum (ACSF) where he has co-authored the ACSF’s Declaration of Transcendent Human Habitat.

 

Roberto has been published in international journals and has been invited to write, teach, and speak extensively on the topics of Sacred Space, Architectural Heritage, Sustainable Design, and the Cosmological Response to the Ecological Crisis as it relates to Architecture and Education at universities, colleges, religious conferences, architecture conferences, and professional organizations throughout Canada and the United States.  His firm’s recently completed renovation work at the Church of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph has elevated this historic monument to Basilica status and has attracted both national and provincial heritage awards.

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

 

Click here to download the Ecological Wisdom course outline

 

 

Humanity currently faces an ecological crisis of unprecedented magnitude. As Pope Francis notes, this crisis is a manifestation of a deeper crisis of modernity that includes “ethical, cultural, and spiritual” dimensions. We are all called to heal relationships between ourselves and the wider Earth community. We need not only transformed technologies, policies, and economics to do so, but also a practical and ethical know-how. Ecological wisdom capable of discerning a path towards just and loving relationships is paramount.

 

The six weeks of Ecological Wisdom: Righting our Relationships with Each Other and the Earth will explore the nature and causes of the ecological crisis. We will reflect on the values, attitudes, and spirituality needed to fruitfully address ecological challenges in the light of faith. Topics will draw on insights from economics, ethics, science, and theology alongside the lived experience of ecological wisdom. Particular reference will be made throughout the course to both the Papal encyclical Laudato Si’ (2015) and The Tao of Liberation (Hathaway & Boff, 2009).

 

 

Themes by Week

 

 

  1. Seeking wisdom in a time of crisis: What is happening to our common home and why is wisdom important?
  2. Roots of the ecological crisis: History, economics, technology, values, and worldviews.
  3. Rethinking relationships, transformation, and the role of the human: Insights from physics, systems perspectives, the Gaia theory, T. Berry’s evolutionary cosmology, and reconceptualizing science (Panikkar and Indigenous perspectives).
  4. Reimagining our relationship to each other and the Earth: Ecological ethics, integral ecology, the Earth Charter, and the Gospel of Creation.
  5. Ecological spirituality: Overcoming denial and despair (insights from the Beatitudes, Buddhism and the Work that Reconnects), ecological conversion, the experience of ecological wisdom, and spiritual practices.
  6. Ecological wisdom in practice: Education, transformative action, regenerative perspectives, and the role of faith communities.

 

 

About the Instructor

 

Dr. Mark Hathaway, PhD is Associate Director of the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice. Together with Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, he wrote The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Orbis, 2009). Mark’s doctoral research examines the lived experience of ecological wisdom and the transformative learning that may cultivate such wisdom. Mark has taught courses at the University of Toronto, the Earth Charter, and a variety of Latin American universities.

 

Regis College is located at 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, near the corner of Queen’s Park Crescent East. It is accessible via the TTC 94 Wellesley bus route, as well as a short walk (south) from Museum subway station. Public parking is available on St. Joseph Street, one block north of Regis.
Previous Series

Journey of a People, Journey of a Soul: A Spiritual Journey through the Old Testament

Presented by Scott Lewis SJ

Although the Old Testament is a collection of written works spanning many centuries, there is a common thread uniting all its books. It is a continual account of God’s call, the imperfect response of human beings, and God’s overwhelming compassion and mercy. There is a constant tension between the call to love and serve God and others, and the all too human tendency towards selfishness. Throughout the many instances of human failure, God is faithful. The spiritual journey of the Old Testament imparts wisdom that is both human and divine. We will journey through the Old Testament with the accompaniment of the rabbis and the Church Fathers.

In the Footsteps of Jesus (In Israel and Jordan July 2018)

Presented by Scott Lewis SJ and Patricia O’Reilly

This journey examines the story of the Christian faith in the place where it all began.  Many scholars consider the land of Israel the fifth Gospel. Immersing yourself in this land will bring you closer to the history, archeology, anthropology, culture, people and politics that spans over thousands of years. Israel is the Holy Land; a country where you will see the Bible come to life in ways that will touch your life today.  Expect a Blessing!

Suffering and the Wisdom of the Body (Fall 2017)

Presented by Ann Sirek

Storied rationality, metaphors and symbols, the knowing of the sensing body, the passions, the senses, movement as rationality, approaches to the paschal mystery… all coming together as practical reason moving us out of suffering into flourishing, now and forever. This 6-week course explored an uncommon meaning of rationality, namely, the logic of movement toward the good in terms of one’s sensed bodily vitality.

Ethical Issues in End of Life Care (Spring 2017)

Presented by Professor Bridget Campion

Euthanasia. Physician-Assisted Death. Withdrawing Treatment. With the rise of medical technology and the recent legalization of medically assisted death in Canada, the “ethics” of dying can seem daunting. This course examined ethical issues in end-of-life care and draw on relevant Catholic Church Teaching
for guidance.

Love: Psychological, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives (Winter 2017)

Presented by Professor John Dadosky

This course surveyed some important authors on the topic of love: St. Paul, C.S. Lewis, Rosemary Haughton, Erich Fromm, Rollo May, Robert Johnson, Scott Peck, Bernard Lonergan and Buddhist perspectives.

Tradition in Progress: Doing Theology With the Fathers of the Church (Fall 2016)

Presented by Eric Mabry

This course invited students into the way of doing theology practiced by the Fathers of the Church, so that our contexts and situations may be lit by the same fire which animated their own. The Fathers, almost without exception, were pastors. Their theology, therefore, is fundamentally one of encounter and relationship. Looking to the Fathers helps us to discover what it means for us to be bearers of the Tradition today, so that we can more adequately and humbly appropriate the task of mercy to which we have all been called.

In the Footsteps of Paul (Summer 2016)

Presented by Patricia O’Reilly and Scott Lewis, S.J.

St. Paul spent much of his life travelling over land and sea, spreading the Good News. The ‘In the Footsteps of Paul’ study tour will follow Paul’s steps beginning at the crossroads of three continents on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus, then travelling on to the mythical Islands of Malta and continuing on to “Roma Aeterna” the eternal city of Rome and beyond.

 

In Cyprus we will step back in time with visits to prehistoric settlements, Roman mosaics and villas, Tombs of the Kings, Churches, UNESCO sites and glorious beaches. We will travel along the coast to Paphos as Saul did before he became Paul.

 

In Malta, we will stroll on meandering narrow streets, visit medieval towers, and the oldest known human structures in the world. We will visit St. Paul’s Island where in 60 C.E. Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome. The welcome he received is described in Acts 28: ‘After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us round it.’

 

Italy will be the final country on the tour as we follow Paul to Rome where he died after years of imprisonment. Highlights are ancient ruins that evoke the power of the former Roman Empire including Vatican City, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes, and much more in Rome.

 

‘Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’ Phil. 4:8