Emerging Models for Community Life and Leadership Teleconferences Series

Join us as experts explore the innovative models offering hope and promise for a way of being and doing Church that provides all Roman Catholics with the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. 

We'll hear from members of the Association of US Catholic Priests on their efforts to renew parish structures and ministerial leadership; experts on the Loebinger Model; lay ecclesial ministers who are forging new models for community life as they minister in the 21st century and more!   Sign up below!

September 13, 2017
Msgr. Ray Cole 
AUSCP Plan for Priestless Parishes

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October 18, 2017 
Professor Ed Hahnenberg
Emerging Models for Ministry

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Sandra M. SchneidersOctober 27, 2017
Sr. Sandra Schneiders
John’s Gospel: Blueprint for the Future of Parish Life

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November 8, 2017
Fr. Robert D. Duch
The Lobinger Model for Parish Leadership and Ministry 

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January 17, 2018   
Jamie Manson
Religious Life for the Next Generation

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February 21, 2018
Chris Lowney
Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church        

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 March 21, 2018   
 8:00pm ET
 Fr. Joseph Healey, MM
Pastoral Responses to the Worldwide Eucharistic Famine

Fr. Joseph Healey's presentation text      Listen to podcast     

The Way Forward: We Create the Path by Walking by Fr. Joe Healey
Young Christian Communities: Creating the Path by Walking by Alloys Nyakundi

April 4, 2018
8:00 pm ET
A Church without Religious Sisters?  Young Women
Religious Speak Up About the Future

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May 16, 2018
8:00 pm ET
There is No Religious or Lay: Forging Innovative Religious Communities for the Future of the Church


Stories about our beloved foundresses and founders, prophets and mystics, martyrs and saints seem to begin with God's unshakeable, unmistakeable call. As we study (or--as the case may be--pry open the bars of our Church's history), we discover that the most exemplary Catholics were often boundary-pushers, truth-tellers, and mold-breakers whose canonical blessing was bestowed posthumously (with a little white washing) or after a cult following was too strong to denounce. With this framework, we can see that: (1) the Spirit speaks to individuals (She rarely moves the entire institution all at once) and that (2) the institution often develops its narrative by looking backward in the rear view mirror and making meaning of what just passed. So. The question for us is not "What is the future of religious life?" 

The question for us is: "What is God's unshakeable, unmistakeable call?". 

For Karen, Jimmy and Sean, the answer is unfolding as Benincasa Community. During our talk we will describe our community's founding impulse, the needs we see in our Church and City today, our work, our commitments, and our learnings...as well as explain why we no longer worry about distinctions such as "religious" and "lay". 

About Benincasa Community: 

Benincasa Community is small, committed community guided by four “currents”: contemplation (prayer), learning (study), works (direct aid, resistance), and interdependence (community). We renovated and now reside in a former convent in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. We are inspired by and connected to the Dominican Sisters of the Northeast, the Catholic Worker Movement, and the “Thompson Street” Jesuits. We offer hospitality to people facing homelessness, as well as activists and organizers; we seek to be in right-relationship with creation and help others connect to the land; and we build beloved community with Catholics who are not always "at home" in a parish or religious order. Karen practiced Landlord-Tenant law for eight years prior to founding Benincasa Community. Before becoming a core member in Benincasa Community, Sean dedicated his time to founding and teaching in a public high school in the Bronx. Jimmy, also a core member of Benincasa Community, previously worked as counselor and advocate in Harlem. 

July 11, 2018
2:00pm ET
A Theology of the Eucharist for the Future
Prof. Thomas O'Loughlin

Thomas O'Loughlin is Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham, UK.  In this presentation, O'Loughlin shares his insights about the origins and contemporary understandings of Eucharist and what that means for the future of the Church today.    He contends that Christianity is a religion of memory. We look to the future – indeed to beyond the future – and so we live today in such a way as to build that future, but we do so while recalling our past. Our past is significant because it identifies us, affirms that we are a community in a covenant with God, and provides us with a key to what is significant in that relationship. The journey we are on is always looking forward, but we understand it by looking at where we have come from.

For O'Loughlin, every religion asks where the divine is to be encountered. Usually the answer is in a place apart – be it a sacred temple, a place that is tapu, or in some distant lonely place. And in each of us this idea still resonates as can be seen in the preference for a language of ‘otherness’ that has inspired the 2011 translation. But this instinct comes into conflict with our encounter with Jesus in the wonder of the incarnation. Where is Jesus encountered as the one who established the presence of God? The affirmation of the first disciples was clear: in their meals and banquets and so they told the stories of his meals, his feedings, his breaking down of barriers that kept people apart. Salvation came to the house of Zacchaeus when there, at that man’s table, the Lord sat and ate for he too was now to be recognised as a son of the covenant (Lk 19:9). The table is the place of our encounter as a community. . . 

August 15, 2018
8:00pm ET
Developing Strategies for the Future of Religious Community
Sr. Linda Romey, OSB

Sr. Linda Romey believes the future of religious life is in God's hands.  But she also know that we are expected to consciously shape that future.  As we face declining numbers of women religious, she asks:

1.  What makes religious life, religious life? 

2.  What, if any, are the defining, fundamental elements without which it would cease to exist? 

3.  What is the core around which any new forms of religious life might grow?

Romey finds a core principle in Sr. Sandra Schneiders' work.  Schneiders writes, "Relgious...are not part of the hierarchical structure of the Church.  Religious are not agents of the institution.  It is not their task to represent or protect the instition or to guard doctrinal purity or orthodoxy.  The work of Religious is to seek God with the whole of their being and life, to pursue that quest wherever it leads, and to do so to the exclusion of any other primary life commitment or work."

Please join us for an exciting conversation with Sr. Linda Romey, OSB.