Online theology for seekers
The 2022 Faith Seeking Understanding Lecture Series at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin, will take place online on Wednesday evenings from 2 to 16 February 2022.
The three sessions will be streamed live on Zoom and the lectures will be recorded and made available for the week following each lecture.
This introductory course in theology is intended to meet the need, expressed by some, to be more literate about their faith, says Dr Michael Kirwan, Director of the Institute (see photo) who adds,”St Paul tells us ‘always to be ready to give an account of the faith that is within you.’ And yet, very often our understanding is more intuitive than explicit, and we do not always feel confident about expressing it in an informed way.”
Dr Kirwan says that people sometimes wish they had more to draw on, so as to be better able to explain how they see things. “This series is an attempt to respond to this need, and to introduce people who are interested to the wealth of theological insight that is available in the Catholic tradition.”
The theme for this year’s series is The Work of Christian Love. Michael explains that a life lived in faith has many gifts to bestow on those who follow that path, and yet in the contemporary world identifying as a person of faith can bring with it personal and communal challenges.
“This year’s series seeks to open up a space in which we can explore and celebrate the many gifts that our Catholic faith bestows as well as being honest about the work required to continue to nurture that faith, both our own and that of others, including students in our schools,” he says.
The first lecture on Wednesday 2 February is entitled ‘We have seen your salvation; making sense of the Doctrine of the Incarnation’. It will be given by Dr Kirwan himself and a second speaker to be confirmed.
The lecture will be given on the Feast of the Presentation, or ‘little Christmas’ forty days after the birth of Christ. The session will use this feast to reflect upon the doctrine of the Incarnation, the Christian belief that God took human form, and will explore how the teaching of the incarnation might be understood today, especially in a world of many religious pathways,
On Wednesday 9 February, Dr Kirwan will be joined by Professor Fainche Ryan of the Loyola Institute TCD, to explore the meaning of Christian sainthood in a lecture entitled ‘The repercussions of grace: Christian Saints’.
This session will explore the lives of saints, specifically Julian of Norwich, and the Jesuit martyrs Edmund Campion and Rutilio Grande. What do their graced experiences of conversion tell us about how God shapes the lives of people of faith?
The third and final lecture in the series is entitled ‘A God of Healing in a Wounded World’, to be delivered by Professors Karen Kilby and Paul Murray, from the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham. This session will explore the ways scripture and Christian tradition show us the healing power of God in response to suffering.
For many Christians, the experience of innocent suffering in their lives and in the world around us challenges the conviction that God is at work, says Michael, adding that these two theologians who have reflected upon suffering and its relevance to the Christian life will help address these questions.
Tickets will be available to be purchased on Eventbrite with a link available through the Loyola Institute website. The cost will be €20 which includes all three lectures, and access to recordings of the session for the week following each one.
Timetable for each evening:Session 1: 5.30 – 6.30 (Irish Time)
Interlude: 6.30 – 6.50
Session 2: 6.50 – 7.50
Conclusion: 7.50 – 8.00