Adult Faith Formation Archive

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Becoming an Antriracist Parish: Catholic Theologians Addressing Racism

Addressing racism in a sustained way requires work, humility, patience, and persistence. These three events with Catholic theologians about race and theology are intended to help us as a parish continue to learn about how we might become a more actively anti-racist community. These will not be lectures, but a series of conversations to help enrich our own continuing dialogue and actions as a parish. See and share the flyer. The sessions are:

February 7, 4pm
Parishioner Dr. Brian Flanagan will engage in conversation with Dr. Karen Teel about how White Catholics can become aware of their own identities, Whiteness, and need for conversion to anti-racism. Dr. Teel is a Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego, the author of Racism and the Image of God (2010) and “What Jesus Wouldn’t Do: A White Theologian Engages Whiteness,” among other articles and essays on racism, white supremacy, and anti-racist theological anthropology.

March 7, 4pm
Dr. John Slattery, a white Catholic theologian currently working at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has written about science and evolution and has highlighted the role of race in theological responses to eugenics. Dr. Steven Battin is a Black Catholic theologian and Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, who researches decolonial, indigenous, and African-American-based post-capitalist movements and Slattery became both colleagues and friends during their time together at Notre Dame. In this conversation, the two theologians, who are both from New Orleans, will discuss Catholic life in their hometown, racism, and their differing experiences in the Catholic Church.

April 18, 4pm
In our third event, parishioner Dr. Annie Selak, who is Associate Director of the Georgetown University Women’s Center, will engage in conversation with Dr. Nichole Flores of the University of Virginia. Dr. Flores writes and teaches about Catholic and Latinx theologies in relation to justice and other areas of ethics, both in scholarly venues and as a contributing writer to America magazine, and has been active in Catholic responses to racism in the aftermath of the 2017 Charlottesville demonstrations. View the presentation on YouTube.

April 2021

Nurturing Environmental Stewardship in Our Children and Families
April 25, 4pm

The Catholic Church brings a distinct perspective to the discussion of environmental questions by lifting up the moral dimensions of these issues. This unique contribution is rooted in Catholic social teaching calling us to care for creation.

Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Sí, provides us with guidance for protecting our common home: Earth. In celebration of the anniversary of Earth Daythe Green Team, a Social Justice subcommittee, and Faith Formation are offering the opportunity to explore how everyone – adults, children, families – can more meaningfully engage in actions that protect the environment and discover ways we all can encourage a love of and respect for, nature.

Our presenter will be Laura Anderko, Ph.D. RN, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing & Health Studies. A scholar and educator in the fields of public health and environmental health, she has studied a variety of environmental health topics including climate change and its impact on children

March 2021

Kindness in the Time of Pandemic: Julian of Norwich on Pain, Hope, and God’s ‘Kinde Love’
March 14, 4pm

Julian of Norwich endured several waves of the plague and resulting social upheaval, including a major rebellion in 1381. Her book, Showings, was in part her way of responding to such pain, anxiety, and division. She placed her hope (“All Shall Be Well, and Every Kind of Thing Shall be Well”) in what she called God’s “kinde love,” where “kind” signaled not only divine benevolence but also intimate kinship between God and humanity (God as mother), as well as among all humans. She proposed a new form of Christian humanism.

Julia A. Lamm is Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, where she has taught for 30 years. She has been a parishioner at Holy Trinity for almost as long; she and her husband, Alan Mitchell, are proud parents of an HTS and Gonzaga High School alumnus. She is author of God’s ‘Kinde’ Love: Julian of Norwich’s Vernacular Theology of Grace (Crossroad/Herder&Herder, 2019) and The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism (Wiley, 2013). Another book, Schleiermacher’s Plato, will appear later this year (Walter de Gruyter, 2021).

If interested in reading more about Julian of Norwich. Participants are invited to read any chapter of the God’s ‘Kinde’ Love available via Crossroad PublishingAmazon, or special ordered through your local bookstore.

February 2021

The Sacrament of Reconciliation: A Tool for Spiritual Growth
February 21, 4pm
If every sacrament is a gift to help us grow closer to God, why have so many Catholics drifted away from confession? For some lifelong Catholics, confession has never been anything but a source of embarrassment. Others just don’t see the point of it. “I don’t really do anything bad enough to confess.” Or “I keep having to confess the same things over and over.” Join the conversation to see whether this sacrament might be a helpful tool on your spiritual journey. Fr. Bill Kelley will lead the conversation on Zoom.

Sacrament of Reconciliation Notes

January 2021

Celebrating Church Unity Octave: Discussion of a Common Eucharist
Sunday, January 24 and 31, 4pm

Taking inspiration from the week of prayer and reflection on Christian unity (January 18-25), we welcome all to join us for one or both Sundays to consider various ways of thinking about what we are doing in the liturgy and how it leads us to see intercommunion as enhancing our participation in the mystery of the Church and the mystery we celebrate.

When a Lutheran woman asked Pope Francis about her painful situation of not receiving communion with her Catholic husband, the Pope asked theologians to consider this question, offered some paths forward, and suggested that the woman move forward with prayerful thought. Timothy O’Loughlin has taken up the challenge in his book, Eating Together, Becoming One.

In these two online sessions, theologians Tony Tambasco and Brian Flanagan will present this practical ecumenical issue and then lead discussions.

It is not necessary to have read the book in order to attend these sessions.

Belonging: One Catholic’s Journey
Sunday, January 10 — 4pm, Zoom

All are welcome to join us online for this presentation from parishioner Frank Butler, author of Belonging: One Catholic’s Journey, published in October.

He will discuss his story of being a lifelong Catholic, distressed by his church’s failures, but encouraged by the spiritual power and heroism of the people of faith he encountered along the way – those who keep the institution on the right path. In this hour-long presentation, Frank will share his perspective and hope for the Church.


December 2020

Creation and the Cross
December 5, 2020 — 7pm, Zoom

Elizabeth Johnson is a distinguished Catholic theologian who recently retired from Fordham University. “To venture new understandings of faith yet to remain deeply rooted in the soil of tradition is signature Elizabeth Johnson.  She invites us to consider, what might cosmic redemption mean in our own time?” offers  Nancy Pineda-Madrid, PhD,  Professor, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.  This presentation will be offered virtually.

October 2020

God Speaks in Scripture with Fr. Ben Hawley, S.J.
October 25, November 1, November 8, November 15, November 22 — 4-5:15pm, Zoom
For millennia, God has spoken through written texts that offer us the narrative history of salvation, invitation to covenantal relationship, guidance for the moral life, calls to worship, service and self-sacrifice, all in drama, poetry, parable, and homily. This series will offer brief presentations that invite your personal participation and engagement – head, heart, and spirit – in 75 minute Zoomed sessions. You do not have to choose each session; attend as many or as few as you like. See or download the flyer and RSVP.

Commonweal Conversations: Reimagining U.S. Catholicism Today
Join Commonweal Mondays this October at 3pm for a series of conversations with lay leaders on how U.S. Catholicism is being transformed by new forms of leadership, learning, and institutional life.

• 10/5 — Prophetic Inclusion: Catholic Women in Church Leadership
• 10/12 — Modern and Just Catholic Education & Formation
• 10/19 — A Reckoning of Catholic Institutions
• 10/26 — The Future of Community & Sacramental Life

August 2020

Book Discussion: Women Deacons: Past, Present and Future
August 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31

All are welcome to join a five-week online discussion of Dr. Phyllis Zagano’s book, Women Deacons: Past, Present and Future. The one-hour sessions will held on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. beginning August 3, led by Judith Brusseau, Pastoral Association for Faith Formation & Religious Education, and Gene Morris, long-time parishioner.

The tremendous growth of the permanent order of deacon in the church carries with it lingering questions about women deacons. The church’s evident need for more women in ministry demands careful exploration and evaluation of the historical roots, contemporary ecclesial realities and creative future possibilities for including women in the diaconate.

Books can be purchased from Paulist Press.

Helpful Resources


The Eucharist: Theological Reflections
Sunday, March 8  10:10am
Appreciating the Eucharist as a memorial, a special kind of sacrifice and a foretaste of the New Creation.

The Eucharist and Its Background as a Jewish Meal
Fr. Brian McDermott
Sunday March 1 10:10am
Understanding the Jewish roots of the Eucharist is critical for appreciating what Jesus was, is and offers his friends: a new Passover, a new Manna, a new Bread of Presence.

Building Inclusive Communities by Understanding Differences – Continuing the Conversation
Sunday, February 23, 10:10am, Lower School, Big Room
Presenters Drs. Thea Bruhn and Roly Diaz will hold a follow-up session to address questions about how families can have conversations about respecting gender differences, cultural norms and non-traditional family structures. It is not necessary to have attended the first presentation. All are welcome.


Historical Perspectives on the Laity in the Church
Fr. John W. O’Malley, SJ, Professor of Theology at Georgetown University

Sunday, January 12, 10:10am, Trinity Hall

If the church is best defined as the People of God, the role of the laity in it is obviously crucial, as history demonstrates irrefutably. Join Fr. John O’Malley for a quick historical overview followed by a discussion of how the abuse crisis and Pope Francis’ promotion of “Synodality” raises the laity to a new prominence for our times.

His latest book, When Bishops Meet, published in August, traverses more than 450 years of Catholic history and examines the Councils’ most pressing and consistent concerns: questions of purpose, power and relevance in a changing world.

Did you miss Fr. O’Malley’s presentation? You can listen to it here.


Advent: A Season Worth Waiting For
David Pennington, Pastoral Associate for Liturgy
Sunday, December 8, 10:10 am, Chapel

David Pennington, our Pastoral Associate for Liturgy, will explore the themes and meanings that fill the Advent season. He will offer suggestions about how to engage the season both at church and at home.

All are invited to renew the anticipation and hope this season of preparation.



Jesus’ Preaching on the Kingdom of God in Matthew’s Gospel
Dr. Alan Mitchell, Professor of Scripture, Georgetown University
Sunday, December 15, 10:10 am, Chapel

As we begin a new Liturgical year (Year A)  that will focus on the Gospel of Matthew,  this presentation offers insight on Matthew’s lens on Jesus’ mission.

Alan Mitchell, Professor of Scripture at Georgetown, will focus on the theme of  Jesus’ Preaching on the Kingdom of God in Matthew’s Gospel.

All are welcome to come and renew acquaintance with the Gospel of Matthew.


Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church
Austen Ivereigh
Tuesday, November 19, 7 pm, Trinity Hall

Join journalist Austen Ivereigh, author of Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church, as he takes us takes us inside the Vatican’s urgent debate over the future of the church. This colorful, clear-eyed portrait of Pope Francis centers on the tensions generated by the Pope’s attempt to turn the Church away from power and tradition and outward to engage humanity with God’s mercy.

Pope Francis is attempting to reshape the Church to evangelize the contemporary age, but he has faced rebellions over his allowing sacraments for the divorced and his attempt to create a more “ecological” Catholicism, as well as a firestorm of criticism for the Church’s record on sexual abuse. Yet, Francis has emerged as a leader of remarkable vision and skill with a relentless spiritual focus — a leader who is at peace in the turmoil surrounding him.

With entertaining anecdotes, insider accounts and expert analysis, Wounded Shepherd takes the reader on a journey through the key episodes of Francis’ reform in Rome and the wider Church and brings into sharp focus the frustrations and fury, as well as the joys and successes, of one of the most remarkable pontificates of the contemporary age.


Blaming God? Exploring Ancient and Medieval Jewish Lamentation Literature as a Response to Exile
Rabbi Hyim Shafner
Sunday, November 10, 10:10am, Trinity Hall

From the destruction of the ancient Temple to medieval persecutions to the modern Holocaust, Jews have responded to tragedy with a rich body of scripture and liturgy. In this presentation, Rabbi Shaffner will provide several examples and examine their themes and theology. 

Rabbi Hyim Shafner is the rabbi of Kesher Israel: The Georgetown Synagogue, in Washington, DC. He has Rabbinical Ordination, an MSW in social work and an MA in Jewish philosophy from Yeshiva University. Rabbi Shafner is the author of the Everything Jewish Wedding Book (2008), a founding writer of Morethodoxy, and a periodic contributor to The Journal of Jewish Ideas and Ideals.  


Showing Respect and Welcome to LGBTQ Catholics
with Rev. James Martin, S.J.
Sunday, October 20, 3pm, Main Church

In his groundbreaking book, Building a Bridge, Fr. Jim Martin issued an impassioned plea for Catholic leaders to relate to their LGBT flock in a new way, one characterized by compassion and openness.  Fr. Martin turns to three virtues from the Catechism of the Catholic Church — respect, compassion and sensitivity — as a model for how Catholic leadership and LGBT Catholics can move together on a “two-way bridge” toward reconciliation and love.

Recently revised, the book has been called a compassionate book desperately needed in today’s climate of divisiveness.  All are invited to come and hear Fr. Martin discuss what the Church can do to create a more welcoming environment. A Q&A session will follow as time permits.

Fundamentals of Christology Series

March 24, 31 & April 7
10:10 a.m. Chapel


Over the course of three sessions, Fr. Brian McDermott, SJ will offer some fundamental themes in Christology, the theological exploration of the meaning of Jesus Christ. He will first consider the distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, Jesus’ Jewishness and aspects of his ministry. In the second session, Fr. McDermott will examine Jesus’ passion and death both historically and theologically. In the last presentation, he will explore Jesus’ resurrection as the radical transformation of his whole person and as the hope of transformation for all humanity.

Session 1 Notes

Session 2 Notes 

Session 3 Notes

Women in the Diaconate

Saturday, March 30
9:30 a.m. Coffee Reception
10 a.m. Presentation in Trinity Hall

Two years ago, Pope Francis appointed the first-ever special commission to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. The Pontifical Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women discussed questions surrounding the restoration of women to the ordained diaconate. 

One of the commission’s members, Dr. Phyllis Zagano, an expert on the question of restoring women to the ordained diaconate in the Catholic Church, was appointed to the commission by the Pope, and she will bring her perspective for discussion on March 30. The church’s evident need for more women in ministry demands careful exploration and evaluation of the historical roots, contemporary ecclesial realities, and creative future possibilities for including women in the diaconate.

Dr. Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality and women’s issues in the church. She is Senior Research Associate-in-Residence in the Department of Religion at Hofstra, where she has continued her research in the history of spirituality and the history of women in the church since 2002.

All are welcome to join us for a brief hospitality reception at 9:30 a.m., followed by Dr. Zagano’s presentation at 10 a.m. and a Q&A session afterward. Dr. Zagano will sign copies of her books as time permits. 

Books will not be sold at this event; they all are available for purchase at Dr. Zagano has made a reflection and study guide for her book available online.

Adult Faith Formation Archive of Past Presentations and Resources


Finding God in All Things … Even Your Family

Saturday, February 23
6:30 p.m., McKenna Hall (This session focuses on couples.)

Sunday, February 24
10:10 a.m., Trinity Hall (This session focuses on families.)

Join Tim and Sue Muldoon, authors of three books drawing from the tradition of Ignatian spirituality, to shed light on how prayer can enhance our personal relationships, particularly in our married and family life.  The Muldoons will share their reflections on their experiences as married people and as parents, but also on what they have learned from their professional lives (Tim as a theologian, Sue as therapist and religious educator).

They will talk about the Ignatian practice of finding God in all things, reflecting on how this kind of attitude allows people to draw meaning even from the mundane tasks of everyday life. They will pay particular attention to the call to a deepening of love in family life.

The Muldoons are the authors of Six Sacred Rules for FamiliesThe Discerning Parent and Reclaiming Family Time.


Clericalism and Centralization: Learning From an Episcopalian

Sunday, February 17
10:10 a.m., Chapel
Presented by Dr. Timothy Sedgwick

Join us as we reflect on the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States (ARC–USA). This “ecumenical dialogue” group focuses on teaching and formation in the Christian faith and on commonalities and differences in how teaching and formation has been shaped in our two churches.

In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Sedgwick has served the Anglican Theological Review as book review editor, board member and president of the board and as a board member for the Society of Christian Ethics. In the Episcopal Church, he presently serves on the Board of Directors for the College for Bishops and on the Anglican – Roman Catholic (ARC) USA bilateral discussion, currently on moral theology.

Click here to read copies of the document as well as responses from the Catholic and Anglican perspectives.

The Search for Christian Unity: Where are we and what matters?
January 20
10:10-11:10 a.m. Chapel
Presented by John Borelli

Join John Borelli from Georgetown University to hear where the church is now, ecumenically speaking. He will offer general remarks on the questions being asked today, which he describes as “different from the questions decades ago,” and comment on the issues and implications being faced by churches.

He will also highlight some of the principles and concepts now at work, such as “Differentiating Consensus,” “Lack of Symmetry” and “Steps on the Way to Full Communion.”

In addition, he will also highlight signs of hope and causes of concern.

Click here for Dr. Borelli’s paper compiled for this session.


Engaging Luke’s Imagination
December 2
10:10-11:10 a.m. Chapel
Presented by Alan Mitchell, Professor of Scripture, Georgetown University

Many of our favorite Gospel stories and parables are ones that only appear in Luke’s Gospel, like the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, The Rich Man and Lazarus, and the Tax Collector, Zacchaeus.  As we prepare to read Luke’s Gospel in the coming liturgical year, delving into the richness of Luke’s imagination will afford us opportunities as a parish to deepen our Ignatian heritage.  Long before St. Ignatius discovered the importance of the imagination for finding God in scripture, Luke prepared the ground for that discovery by creating narratives about Jesus that actively engage our imaginations in reading, study and prayer.  “Engaging Luke’s Imagination” will explore some of the ways  Luke altered Mark’s Gospel by enhancing Mark’s narratives, supplying details omitted by Mark, by creating additional stories about Jesus and even rearranging Mark’s stories to present Luke’s imaginative portrait of Jesus.

Thomas Merton: A 20th Century Prophetic Voice
December 9 – Presented at two different times
10:10-11:10 a.m. Lower School, Big Room
4-5 p.m. Lower School, Big Room
Presented by Fr. Kevin Gillespie, SJ

“On the last day of January, 1915, under the sign of the Water Bearer, in a year of a great war, and down in the shadow of some French mountains on the border of Spain, I came into the world.” 
These opening words from the spiritual classic, The Seven Story Mountain, served as the way by which Thomas Merton described his birth; on December 10, 1968 the world was shocked with Merton’s sudden death while on a pilgrimage to Thailand. On the occasion of this 50th Anniversary of Merton’s death, an overview of Merton’s life and legacy will be offered. Excerpts from some of his significant writings will be offered. Audience participation will be invited.

Ecumenical Dialogue: Learning from Differences & Agreements
October 28
10:10-11:10 a.m. Chapel
Click here to read copies of the document as well as responses from the Catholic and Anglican perspectives.

Stumbling in Holiness
October 14
10:10-11:10 a.m. Chapel 

September 30 10:10-11:10 a.m. Trinity Hall
Raising Faith-Filled Kids: Keeping Children Safe on the Internet 

We know that parents are concerned with keeping their children safe in their digital environments. Join us on for
the first installment in this year’s Raising Faith-Filled Kids series, where we discuss how you can keep your children safe on the internet.

Our speaker will be Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. At NCOSE, she develops and executes national campaigns to change policies and raise awareness. Her advocacy work has contributed to instigating policy improvements in the native online advertising, retail, and hotel industries. Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males and more.

Click here to see a PDF of her presentation. 

How to Talk to Your Children About Pornography

There are more resources for parents on our Child Protection page.


1517-2017 Lutherans and Catholics: Then and Now
September 14-15, 2017
Presented by Georgetown University
Free, but registration required. Click here for info and to RSVP.


Book Discussion: Fr. James Martin, SJ

Building A Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity

September 30, 2017
10:30 a.m.    Holy Trinity Church

Fr. Martin recently told a group at Fordham University, “My main hope for the book was that it would start, or at least continue, a conversation that needs to happen about how the Catholic Church treats its LGBT members. I also hoped to invite church leaders — bishops, priests and lay leaders — to consider the ways that the institutional church reaches out to LGBT people.  Or doesn’t reach out to them.

Building a Bridge provides a roadmap for repairing and strengthening the bonds that unite all of us as God’s children. Turning to the Catechism, he draws on the three criteria at the heart of the Christian ministry — “respect, compassion, and sensitivity” — as a model for how the Catholic Church should relate to the LGBT community.


Reformation Sunday or Common Commemoration:
Moving Beyond the Fifth Centenary of Luther’s Reformation

October 29, 2017
10:10 a.m. in the Chapel

Session resources
Presentation slides
Moving Beyond the Fifth Centenary of Luther’s Reformation by John Borelli 
Joint Statement on Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation


December 2017 The Gospel of Mark
Fr. Paul McCarren, SJ

As we begin a new liturgical year and the Gospel of Mark, come be reacquainted with the Gospel that we will be hearing for the next several months.

December 10 “Be at peace … Are you?”
10:10 a.m. St. Ignatius Chapel

December 17 “There is One among you who you do not recognize … Why not?”
10:10 a.m. St. Ignatius Chapel


Lecture Series: Deepening our Understanding of Islam
Imam Yayhi Hendi
Session handouts

Session 1 Faith, Creed & Sharia VIDEO
Session 2 Sources of Faith: The Quran and Muhammad VIDEO
Session 3 A History from Mecca to America VIDEO
Session 4 Mary: The Embodiment of Mercy and Compassion VIDEO

Advent Seminar
Fr. Peter Gyves, SJ, MD
Session handouts

500 Years of the Reformation
John Borelli
Session resources
Remembering 500 Years of the Reformation
Five Imperatives: A Hopeful Future of Accompaniment