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2019 Paul Wattson Lecture in Halifax
Monday, November 4, 2019 @ 7:00 pm AST
This year’s lecturer will be Fr. Elias Mallon, SA, a Friar of the Atonement who is involved in Roman Catholic/Christian-Muslim dialogue and issues of interreligious cooperation for conflict transformation and peace building in the Middle East. At present he is the External Affairs Officer for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) which supports charitable, educational, health and development projects in the Middle East, Ethiopia, Eastern Europe and southern India. The title of his lecture will be “Tripoli to Abu-Dhabi: the Evolution of Catholic-Muslim Relations.”
The Paul Wattson Lecture is free and open to the public.
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 Chicago Theological Union, The Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, and the Centro Pro Unione in Rome, where they offer seminars and lectures concerned with pressing developments in the field.
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.