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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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