Upcoming Conferences

All Things That Were Made: On Creation, Creatures, and Their Creator | June 6-8, 2024

In June 2024, The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic Theological Formation will co-sponsor an academic conference in conjunction with The Sacra Doctrina Project on the doctrine of creation: “All Things That Were Made: On Creation, Creatures, and Their Creator.” This conference seeks to explore issues raised in natural theology, metaphysics, angelology, anthropology, and ecology by the doctrine of creation.

The Saint Paul Seminary, on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas, will host the conference June 6-8, 2024.

Conference content

Key topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The affirmation of God as “Creator” and God’s relation to the world
  • The Trinitarian character of creation
  • Creation ex nihilo
  • A posteriori demonstrations of God’s perfections
  • Christ as the Logos of creation
  • The Hexaemeron
  • The metaphysics of creation
  • The analogy of being
  • The origins of life, human origins, and the question of evolution
  • The prelapsarian state
  • The moral normativity of human nature and the natural law
  • The created human nature in the Incarnation
  • Mary as the pinnacle of creation
  • Our re-creation in Christ by grace
  • The eschatological “new heavens and new earth”
  • The social and moral implications of our creaturely status
  • The moral status of lower creation
  • The moral demands of ecological stewardship

Conference Registration is open through May 1

Scholars from various disciplines will be in attendance, offering academic paper presentations on the doctrine of creation. A total of 100 abstract proposals were accepted for presentation.

Presenters and non-presenters alike are invited to register for the conference before May 1. More information can be found on The Sacra Doctrina Project's conference website.

Select papers will be published (subsequent to peer review) in a conference proceedings volume edited by the seminary's Institute for Catholic Theological Formation -- part of the Saint Paul Seminary Press' Catholic Theological Formation Series -- and in an issue of The Sacra Doctrina Project’s Lux Veritatis: A Journal of Speculative Theology.

Past Conferences

The Saint Paul Seminary hosted the National Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue on April 27-29 and Nov. 9-11, 2023. The dialogue was co-chaired by Bishop David Kagan of the Diocese of Bismarck and Rev. Dr. Bruce N. G. Cromwell, Superintendent of the Great Plains Conference, Free Methodist Church and mid-America Conference. The Evangelicals represented various traditions such as The Free Methodist Church, the Assemblies of God, and the Salvation Army. The Catholics theologians were selected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for dialogue work and come from various academic institutions, including The Saint Paul Seminary. This meeting focused on the nature of evangelization and the relationship between evangelization and doctrine.

In June 2022, Dr. John Martens led a Quinn Biblical Conference on “The Transcendent Mystery of God’s Word: A Critical Synthesis of Antioch and Alexandria” at the Alverna Center in Winona, Minnesota. Dr. Martens will collect the contributions into a peer-reviewed volume to be published by Saint Paul Seminary Press, in its Catholic Theological Formation Series. Here follows the conference description.

Historical-critical methods in themselves are not wedded to any particular ideology, but they have been associated with numerous intellectual movements, such as rationalism, positivism, historical relativism, etc., thus giving the impression that they are tied to one or another view that minimizes or rejects the sacred and revealed nature of Scripture. Related to this is the perception that students, ordinary churchgoers, and even exegetes have that historical-critical and other related interpretive methods drain the life from Scripture, leaving it dry and parched, unable to support or sustain life. Ben F. Meyer noted, however, that modern biblical techniques were essential for locating the literal, that is, the intended sense of the biblical texts and could not be abandoned by faithful biblical scholars, Roman Catholic or otherwise. He likened these modern methods to the ancient Antiochene school that focused on the literal sense.

It is important to be clear that this conference is not principally about patristic reception of the Bible, but rather builds on Ben F. Meyer’s use of the pairing of the two ancient ecclesiastical schools of interpretation, Antioch and Alexandria. If Antioch focuses on the literal sense, both in antiquity and today, what of Alexandria? Meyer felt that a return to a new Alexandrine school could revivify biblical scholarship grounded only in the literal sense. How? He noted that allegorical interpretation offered what is often lacking in current biblical scholarship, namely, a “sense of the text’s theological depth-dimension, a grasp of its total religious context, and responsiveness to the note of definitive fulfillment.” Yet, patristic and medieval interpretation cannot simply be borrowed today and adopted since they often lack a sense of history, historic change and development, and human development.

What was needed, he believed, was a critical synthesis of Antioch and Alexandria, for if Antioch just represents biblical methods closed to transcendence and Alexandria pays no attention to historical context, change, and development, neither can offer the salvific power of Scripture to our own day. Such a synthesis would allow “for the projecting of horizons at once fully differentiated by a historical consciousness and fully open to the transcendent mystery of salvation.” (Ben F. Meyer, Critical Realism and The New Testament {Princeton Theological Monograph Series, 17 Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications, 1989} 33).

This conference had eight presentations, each dealing with ways in which Antioch and Alexandria, as understood by Meyer, might be brought together in scholarship, in seminary and university teaching, and for the lives of parishioners.

The Saint Paul Seminary hosted the National Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue on Oct. 14 - 15, 2021. The dialogue is co-chaired by Bishop David Kagan of the diocese of Bismarck and Dr. Bonn Clayton of The Conservative Congregational Christian Conference of North America. The Evangelicals represent various traditions such as The Free Methodist Church, the Assemblies of God, and the Salvation Army. The Catholics are theologians who have received the official endorsement of their bishops for dialogue work and come from various academic institutions including our own. This round of the dialogue discussed the various aspects of the moral life.

This Quinn Biblical Conference was held June 27-30, 2021, at King’s House Retreat Center in Buffalo, MN, under the leadership of Fr. Kevin Zilverberg. About twenty invited biblical scholars explored themes related to the inspiration and truth of sacred Scripture, giving special attention to the teaching of these realities in the seminary classroom. Saint Paul Seminary Press will publish a peer-reviewed conference volume to share the scholars’ research.

In order to show that contrition and conversion are possible and transformative realities, the young Bishop of Hippo sat down and told his life’s story. Yet Augustine’s Confessions were composed not only as his own private memoir, but really became the story of every human soul. Every heart is restless until it rests in God, and Augustine wrote these books in order to help his interlocutors understand what divine rest is and how it can be realized. That is why in the summer of 2019, thirteen Augustinian scholars gathered at St. Paul Seminary to see how this ancient text continues to speak to contemporary souls today. With an academic presentation on each of the thirteen books of the Confessions, the goal of each scholar present was to show how the major themes of Augustine’s classic are still challenging and calling today in the 21st century. This fruitful collaboration will appear within the Catholic Theological Formation Series, under the title Augustine’s Confessions and Contemporary Concerns.

March 21-23, 2018, the Institute collaborated in a national conference with Catholic Rural Life, A Noble Vocation: Integrating Faith, Food and the Environment. The conference served as a platform for presentations and panel discussions on the themes presented in the publication Vocation of the Agricultural Leaderas well as a center for discussion among the many stakeholders in US agriculture who are committed to bringing the values of stewardship and care of creation to their work.

This conference explored a "theology of retrieval," reflecting upon traditions and strategies which seek to provide a bridge between the ancient tradition and the contemporary intellectual landscape. Offered in partnership with the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Loyola Marymount University; the Pappas Patristic Institute at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology; the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University; the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas; and the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas.

Exegesis, Lectio Divina, and the Ministry of the Word

June 7-9, 2017

Wednesday, June 7

Fr. Laurence Kriegshauser, O.S.B. - Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis, MO “Western Monastic Tradition of lectio divina (cf. VD 83) with an Eye towards Diocesan Formation/Pastoral Ministry.”

Fr. François Beyrouti, Ph.D. - Pastor of Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church, Placentia, CA “Insight on Lectio Divina from the Eastern Tradition with an Eye towards Diocesan Formation/Pastoral Ministry”

Msgr. Michael Magee, S.T.D. – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia “The Implications of Exegetical Method for Lectio Divina: John 6 as Treated in Several Commentaries”

Thursday, June 8

Use of Technology and Other Teaching Strategies in the Scriptural Classroom - Fr. Rory Pistick – Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Oregon

Scripture Electives - Kelly Anderson – St. Charles Borromeo, Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Learning Styles in Teaching/Learning in the Scriptural Classroom: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic - Dr. Amy Smith – College of Education, Leadership, and Counseling of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Fr. Konrad Schaefer, O.S.B. – Pontifical University of Mexico, Mexico City “Divina Lectio in Seminary Academic Formation”

Fr. Marcin Kowalski, SSD – The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland “Meditatio of Lectio Divina Following upon Exegesis-Informed Lectio: Test Case of Rom. 7:7-25”

Friday, June 9

Dr. Daniel Keating – Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI “Oratio and Contemplatio (and Actio) of Lectio Divina

Fr. Anthony Giambrone, O.P. – École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem “ExquisitioSupplicatio, Praedicatio: Searching the Scriptures and the Mystery of Preaching”

"Integral Ecology in Action" explored the theme of Integral Ecology in light of Laudato Si; in cooperation with The Chapelstone Foundation.

"Human and Natural Ecology"
In anticipation of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si, the Institute for Theological Research partnered with the Center for Catholic Studies, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to bring together an impressive array of theologians and scholars from around the world and from a variety of disciplines to discuss the implications of the highly anticipated encyclical on ecology and climate change. Conference proceedings focused on presentations from a diverse group of climate scientists, business leaders, and philosophers covering topics from policy, academia, economics, and science. With a focus of interdisciplinary thinking, the conversation broadened to address the immediate realities surrounding the release of the encyclical and the long-term conversations on care for creation that are yet to come.

"The Joy of the Gospel, the New Evangelization, and the Role of the Seminary Professor of Sacred Scripture"

June 10-12, 2015

Wednesday, June 10

Ms. Kelly Anderson – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia “The Father of Proverbs 1-9: A Spiritual Father for Seminary Professors”

Fr. Scott Carl – St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity “Honey in the Comb: Towards a Spiritual Reading of Sacred Scripture in the 21st Century”

Msgr. Michael K. Magee – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia
“‘Behold… We have found Him!’: the Joy of Discovery in the Fourth Gospel”

Thursday, June 11

Pentateuch – Fr. Juan Miguel Betancourt, SEMV – St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity

Synoptic Gospels – Dr. John J. Clabeaux – Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, Boston

Prophets – Dr. Laura Manzo – St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston

Johannine Literature – Fr. Francis Macatangay – St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston

Fr. Patrick Brady – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia
“The Homily, the Moral Sense, and the Joy of the Gospel”

Dr. Steven Smith – Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg
“The Children’s Bread: Christ-Centered Evangelical Biblical Preaching in the Era of Pope Francis”

Wisdom Literature – Fr. Stephen Ryan, O.P. – Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC

Pauline Literature - Fr. Christopher Ciccarino – Immaculate Conception Seminary, Newark

Friday, June 12

Dr. André Villeneuve – St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver
“Islam, Interreligious Dialogue and Evangelization”

Deacon James Keating – Institute of Priestly Formation, Omaha
“The Exegete as Formator: Carrying the Seminarian into Truth”

"The Evolving Theology of Creation"
What does it mean to till and keep God's Earth? How has the call to be faithful stewards developed over the history of Christian theology and how is humanity's care for creation understood in various traditions and by various academic disciplines? The Evolving Theology of Creation conference examined these and other questions pertaining to the Christian call to till and keep God's earth. Panelists addressed questions through their interaction with sacred scripture, historical theology, and literature. Essays exploring a sustained, theological reflection upon the ways in which the Church has considered the meaning and value of creation will be published in Spring 2016 titled On Earth as it is in Heaven: Cultivating a Contemporary Theology of Creation, Eerdman's publishing.

Faith, Food & the Environment: The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader

In cooperation with Catholic Rural Life and Minnesota Farmers Union, the Institute for Theological Research co-sponsored an ecumenical conference hosting over 70 leaders from across the country and representatives from France, Italy, Uganda, and the Philippines. Together, participants explored the landscape of modern agriculture, the connection between religious traditions and contemporary agricultural issues, and the guiding principles and wisdom of various faith traditions regarding the stewardship of creation and social justice. The developments that emerged from the symposium contributed to the publication of Vocation of the Agricultural Leader, a comprehensive set of practical resources intended to help agricultural leaders around the world navigate their vocation in these trying and changing times.

"The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Catholic Faith: The Role of the Seminary Professor of Sacred Scripture"

The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Catholic Faith: The Role of the Seminary Professor of Sacred Scripture

June 12-14, 2013

Wednesday, June 12

Dr. Steven Smith – Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg
"Stand & Deliver - Scripture and the Role of the Seminary Professor in Froming Priests for the New Evangelization"

Dr. Peter Williamson – Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit
"Implications of the New Evangelization for Priestly Ministry and for Teaching Scripture to Seminarians"

Dr. Laura Manzo – St. Mary's Seminary, Houston
"Breaking Open the Scriptures: Helping Seminarians Interpret Difficult Texts"

Thursday, June 13

Pentateuch – Fr. Stephen Ryan, O.P. - Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC

Synoptic Gospels – Dr. John Martens - University of St. Thomas, St. Paul

Prophets – Prof. Kelly Anderson - St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia

Johannine Literature – Dr. Steven Smith - Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg

Dr. Gregory Glazov – Immaculate Conception Seminary, Newark "Difficult OT Passages (Verbum Domini 42)"

Fr. Stephen Ryan, O.P. - Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC
"Old Testament Wisdom Literature and the New Evangelization"‌

Wisdom Literature - Dr. André Villeneuve - St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver

Pauline Literature - Fr. Andreas Hoeck - St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver

Friday, June 14

Msgr. Michael K. Magee – St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia
"Looking But Not Always Seeing: the Relevance of Johannine Irony to the New Evangelization"‌

Fr. Juan Miguel Betancourt, SEMV – The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity
"On Paul and the New Evangelization: Towards Strategies in Teaching the Pauline Epistolary"

"Nature as Norm"
This three-day seminar gathered scholars from across the country to discuss the significance of "nature" in the arena of metaphysics, ethics, anthropology, and ecology with a special emphasis given to the normative role it plays in such discourses. Dr. Steven Long facilitated discussions based in the powerful words of Pope Benedict XVI, "We have to make evident once more what is meant by the world's having been created 'in wisdom' . . . only then can conscience and norm enter again into proper relationship. For then it will become clear that conscience is a 'con-sciens', a 'knowing along with' creation and , through creation, with God the Creator." Publication of the presentations is forthcoming through Eerdman's publishing.

"The Catholic Seminary Professor of Sacred Scripture and the Classroom"

The Catholic Seminary Professor of Sacred Scripture and the Classroom

June 9-11, 2011

Thursday, June 9

Dr. Peter Williamson - Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit "Preparing Seminarians for the Ministry of the Word in Light of Verbum Domini"

Fr. James Swetnam, S.J. - Professor Emeritus – Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome "Searching for the Obvious: Toward a Catholic Hermeneutic of Scripture with Seminarians Especially in Mind"

Fr. Pablo Gadenz - Immaculate Conception Seminary, Newark "Overcoming the Hiatus between Exegesis and Dogma: Guidance and Examples from Pope Benedict XVI"

Friday, June 10

Dr. Brant Pitre - Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans "Verbum Domini and the Historical-Critical Method"

Dr. Mary Healy - Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit "Verbum Domini and the Renewal of Biblical Preaching"

Prof. Kelly Anderson - St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia "An Application of Pope Benedict XVI's Principle of the 'Hermeneutic of Faith' to the Problem of Divine Violence"

Fr. Stephen D. Ryan, O.P. - Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC "The Word of God and the Textual Pluriformity of the Old Testament"

Dr. Scott Hahn - St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe "The Symphony of Scripture in the Theology of Benedict XVI"

Saturday, June 11

Dr. Steven Smith - Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg "The God Who Speaks: Verbum Domini as a Means of Renewal in Seminary Formation in the Word of God"

Msgr. Michael K. Magee - St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia "'I am not. . .': the Theme of Self-Negation in the Gospel of John"

Fr. Chris Ciccarino - Immaculate Conception Seminary, Newark "Another Piece to the Johannine Puzzle?"

Fr. Andreas Hoeck - St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver "The Apostolic Speeches in Acts and Seminary Teaching Methods"

Dr. Christian Washburn - Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity "The Catholic Use of the Scriptures in Ecumenical Dialogue"

"A Century of Ecumenism"
Scholar-in-Residence Monsignor John A. Radano collaborated on this conference related to the centenary of the 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference, celebrated in 2010. The conference examined questions of what have we achieved, where are we now, and where are we going since the World Mission Conference. Essays from the conference can be found in Celebrating a Century of Ecumenism: Exploring the Achievements of International Dialogue, edited by Monsignor Radano, published by Eerdmans in 2012.

"Renewing the Face of the Earth: Aquinas and Creation"
Approximately 50 participants from philosophy, theology, law and the social sciences gathered to reflect on issues of environmental concern, with a special focus on the intellectual tradition inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas. Essays from the conference may be found in Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol. 10, No. 1 (2012): 61-278.

"Integrating Biblical Studies and Theology in the Formation of Priests"

The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church: Integrating Biblical Studies and Theology in the Formation of Priests

June 11 – 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11
Fr. James Swetnam, S.J. - Pontifical Biblical Institute “Toward a More Explicitly Catholic Approach to the Teaching of Sacred Scripture”

Dr. Peter Williamson - Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit “Scripture across the Curriculum: Pastoral Ministry and Mission”

Msgr. Michael Magee - St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia
“Combining Synchronic and Diachronic Methodology in Teaching the Pentateuch”

Friday, June 12
Right Rev. Denis Farkasfalvy, O. Cist - Our Lady of Dallas Cistercian Monastery “Inspiration and Incarnation”

Prof. Kelly Anderson - St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia “The Liturgy of the Hours as an Effective Means for Teaching the Book of Psalms”

Fr. Chris Ciccarino - Immaculate Conception Seminary, Newark “This Found Book’ (2Kgs 22:13): Lessons in Biblical Renewal from Josiah"

Fr. Scott Carl - The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity “Historicity and Historiography: A Look at the Gospels”

Dr. Caroline Nolan - St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton “AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO TEACHING SCRIPTURE IN CATHOLIC SEMINARIES: Combining the Four-Fold Method of Catholic Exegesis with the Four Pillars of Priestly Formation”

Msgr. Richard Henning - Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington “The Eschatological Context of Paul's Encounter with the Jewish Community in Rome and Accusations of an Anti-Jewish Bias in Acts”

Saturday, June 13
Fr. Francis Martin - Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit “Spiritual Understanding of Scripture”

Fr. Rory Pitstick - Mount Angel Seminary, Portland “Vocation as the Meaning of Life in the Letters of St. Paul”

Fr. Andreas Hock - St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver “Discourse Analysis and the Book of Revelation”

Dr. Tim Gray - St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver “We Proclaim Not Ourselves: Integrating Academic Study of Scripture with Homiletic Preparation”

"Remembering Paul VI"
A conference honoring the legacy of John Paul II and his contribution to a deeper understanding of the Church's teaching on human sexuality and marriage. Marking the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, events included panel discussions and public lectures by Dr. Janet Smith, Dr. Michael Waldstein, and Dr. Peter Colosi. Conference proceedings included reflections by scholars who presented on both the philosophical and theological works of now St. John Paul II.

2003, 2005 & 2007
"Reason and the Rule of Faith: Conversations in the Tradition with John Paul II"
These seminars were designed to foster habitus, or habits which sought to form committed Catholic intellectuals in community - with each other and with the wider Church of which they serve as teachers, scholars, and apprentices of the tradition. We were blessed with the company of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., and Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P. Essays from these gatherings were compiled in the volume Reason and the Rule of Faith: Conversations in the Tradition with John Paul II, edited by Dr. Christopher Thompson and Dr. Steven Long, published by University Press of America in 2011.

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