(Graymoor, Garrison, NY — January 30, 2019) — Dr. Aaron Hollander will deliver the XXXIX Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 7:30 pm in the McClaren Conference Center, Room 252. His theme will be “The Courage to Hearken: Ecumenism and the Underside of Modernity.”

dr-aaron-hollanderThe lecture will consider the legacy of the World Council of Churches’ vision of “justice, peace, and the integrity of creation” in order to explore how theologians and religious leaders in positions of power and privilege might not only engage challenges from marginalized voices but be converted, exorcised, and reconstituted by them.

An emerging scholar of ecumenical theology and interreligious relations, Aaron Hollander has his PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a master’s degree from the Irish School of Ecumenics.  He has spoken internationally on matters of interreligious antagonism, dialogue, resistance, and reconciliation.

History of the Paul Wattson Lectures

The Father Paul Wattson Lectures honor the memory of the Servant of God Fr. Paul of Graymoor (Reverend Paul James Francis Wattson, SA,1863-1940), founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and pioneer for the cause of Christian Unity.  Each year, the Friars bring leaders of ecumenical and interreligious relations to the University of San Francisco.

Born Lewis T. Wattson on the eastern shore of Maryland, he was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1886.  A few years later Wattson felt a call to create a new religious community within the Episcopal Church that would follow the Franciscan rule of life.  In collaboration with an Episcopalian Sister, Lurana White, the Society of the Atonement was founded in 1898 at Graymoor, Garrison, NY.  Wattson then took as his name in the religious life Paul James Francis.  After years of advocating corporate reunion between the Churches, Father Paul and Mother Lurana decided to enter the Roman Catholic Church.  In 1909 the Society of  the Atonement became the first religious community to be received corporately into the Roman Church since the Reformation.

One year earlier Father Paul began the Church Unity Octave, a period of prayer in January which is now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Until his death in 1940, he worked tirelessly to further the atonement of all people through many social projects like St. Christopher’s Inn for homeless men in New York.

The Society of the Atonement is now established throughout the world in North America, Europe and Asia, with Friars and Sisters working and praying for the realization of Jesus’ prayer: “That all may be one.”  In 2014, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed the cause for the sainthood of Fr. Paul Wattson.

University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco, established in a one-room school house in 1855, now enrolls 11,000 men and women in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate academic degree programs. USF’s beautiful 5l acre campus overlooks the Pacific ocean, the Bay, downtown and Golden Gate Park.

Though retaining its rich Catholic heritage symbolized by the towering presence of St. Ignatius Church, USF has students of all religions. The Theology and Religious Studies department illustrates this same ecumenical diversity with a faculty including a Lutheran pastor and a rabbi. Each year, USF’s Summer Theology program brings renowned Christian theologians to the campus.

Because of its innovative, ecumenical reputation, USF was selected by the Atonement Friars as the West Coast location for the prestigious lecture program.

To register for this event, click here.

For more information about the Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco, contact Elizabeth Matos (212) 870-2330 or email lmnygeii@aol.com.