(Graymoor, Garrison, NY — January 15, 2018) — Rev. Dr. Etienne Vetö will deliver the XXXVIII Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco on Monday, February 26, 2018, at 7:30 pm in the McClaren Conference Center, Room 252. His theme will be “New Religious Movements in the Catholic Church: Obstacle or Opportunity for Jewish-Christian Dialogue.”

prof-volker-leppin_editedEtienne Vetö is a Roman Catholic priest and a member of the Chemin Neuf Community, an Ignatian Charismatic Community with a strong ecumenical orientation. He was born in the USA from French and Hungarian parents. After having taught philosophy at the Centre Sèvres, Jesuit Faculties of Paris, he presently lives in Rome, where he teaches dogmatic theology and ecumenism at the Pontifical Gregorian University and is the Director of the Cardinal Bea Centre for Jewish Studies and Jewish Christian Relations. Vetö is a member of various theological associations in Europe and of the Doctrinal Commission of ICCRS (International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Service). He has been engaged in youth ministry and ministry for couples, and supervises the special service Chemin Neuf offers to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to his staff, by leading a life of community and prayer in Lambeth Palace.

The Paul Wattson Christian Unity Lectures honor the memory of the Servant of God Fr. Paul of Graymoor (Reverend Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A.,1863-1940), founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and pioneer for the cause of Christian Unity.  These annual lectures feature national and international leaders in the fields of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue who speak on current topics of interest.  Initiated in 1974 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, the series was expanded in 1980 to the University of San Francisco; then, in 1995 to the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax; and in 1996 to the Toronto School of Theology in Toronto.  In 1998, it was added to the ministry of the Friars at their Centro Pro Unione in Rome honoring not only Father Paul, but also Mother Lurana White, S.A., founder of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement. In 2017, the first Paul Wattson Lecture in Chicago took place at the Catholic Theological Union.

The University of San Francisco is a Catholic institute of higher education founded by the Jesuits in 1855. USFCA enrolls approximately 11,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs. The University’s Theology faculty has academic expertise in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and in several Social Sciences that explore the human experience of the Divine.  The Friars have chosen to share sponsorship of this prestigious annual lecture program with USF because of their innovative and ecumenical reputation.  

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are a Roman Catholic order of brothers and priests founded in 1898 by Fr. Paul Wattson, SA at Graymoor in Garrison.  Since that time, the Friars have worked for reconciliation and healing through “at-one-ment” — the unity of men and women with God and with one another —  so that the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” might be fulfilled.  Through their mission and ministries they serve people of every race, religion, and walk of life. Their social ministries help the poor, the needy, and the homeless; people living with HIV; frail and elderly in hospitals and hospices; those in prison; and people seeking recovery from alcoholism and chemical addictions.  They are active in the international movement to heal the divisions within Christianity and among all faiths.  Through their prayers and pastoral ministries, they bring spiritual renewal, unity, harmony, and reconciliation throughout the world and carry the Gospel message to three continents. For more information about the Friars, visit atonementfriars.org

For more information about the Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco, contact Anne Marie Devine (415) 422-2697 or email abdevine@usfca.edu .