AUSCP 2023 Assembly
Unity Through Synodality
12TH ANNUAL AUSCP ASSEMBLY
JUNE 12 -15, 2023
University of San Diego • San Diego, California
Assembly 2023 • Summary
July 8, 2023
The 12th Annual AUSCP Assembly was held June 12-15, at the University of San Diego. It was an opportunity to become “engaged with our sisters and brothers dissecting our theme, Unity through Synodality,” said Father Greg Barras, who was re-elected to another term as chairman of the AUSCP Leadership Team. “We continue to build and to grow from the spirit of our forefathers who discerned the spiritual core of AUSCP rests in the Spirit of Vatican II that is calling us to conversion every day and inspiring us to ‘enlarge our tent,’” Barras added. Read his reflection here.
Cardinal Robert W. McElroy welcomed AUSCP members and friends to the Assembly, on Monday, June 12, during Vespers. (A link will be inserted here when the video is available.) Earlier that day, Sister Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Founder and President of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, led a retreat on Responding from a Contemplative Heart: Living Synodality in a Polarized World. Sylvester also guided participants through the keynotes and events.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who was to give a keynote and celebrate the Assembly Mass, instead attended a Eucharistic Congress in Congo at the personal request of Pope Francis. He joined us by way of a video interview with Father Stephen Newton CSC.
The remaining keynoter videos will be available soon. Speakers and themes were as follows:
Dr. Massimo Faggioli, Professor of Theology and Religious studies, Villanova University, on the topic, The “Synodal Process” in the USA and in the Global Church: A Geography of Hope.”
Dr. Brian Flanagan, Associate Professor of Theology at Marymount University, (replacing previously scheduled Cardinal Tagle), on the topic, Synods as Liturgy: Presiding in a Synodal Church.
Dr. Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, on the topic, Bridge People or Neglected and Peripheral? Latinas/Latinos Catholic in the US.
Sebastian Gomes and Zak Davis, from America Media, presented a new documentary on parish life, “People of God: How Catholic Parish Life is Changing in the United States.” The documentary may be viewed online by America subscribers. Gomes and Davis are available to speak to any AUSCP members about a screening event or group subscriptions in their parishes.
Leadership Elections and Voting Initiatives
The Assembly elected four members to the Assembly Leadership Team: Louis Arceneaux, CM, New Orleans; Bernard Kwame Assenyoh, Livermore, California; Michael Hicks, Diocese of Fargo; and Neil Pezzulo, Glenmary Home Missioners. Officers were elected by the team: Greg Barras, Diocese of Biloxi, chair; Michael; Bausch, Diocese of Rochester, Vice-Chair; Michael Hickin, Secretary; and Neil Pezzulo, Treasurer.
By a unanimous voice vote, Assembly participants affirmed a statement which had been previously for their consideration, “Being Gay, Ordained, Faithful to the Church and Appreciated by the Church: Are all these possible in today’s Church?”
The work of the AUSCP continues after the Assembly, for the Work Group, Mutual Support, with this update: What was learned from the Colloquium on Support of Priests: “How can we better support priests?” During the AUSCP assembly in San Diego, the Mutual Support Working Group held two colloquiums. This is a summary of the “How can we better support priests?” session to inform all members of AUSCP about the conversation and challenges that were surfaced. This colloquium was organized to listen and share with one another the expressed needs of our membership. Read the complete report HERE.
The organization, Discerning Deacons, was prominently present at the Assembly, discussing the role of women in the Church; co-founders Ellie Hidalgo and Casey Stanton were honored with the St. John XXIII Award, as were the 27 “Founding Fathers” of the AUSCP and Father Emmet Farrell of the Diocese of San Diego.
At the end of the AUSCP Assembly in San Diego, there was an opportunity to embark on a journey to see how immigrants are faring on both sides of the border. Sponsored by the AUSCP Immigration Working Group, the trip was organized by Fr. Rob Riedy (Diocese of Cleveland). Twenty-two participated. They first toured the San Diego Catholic Charities Center which occupies a hotel used by the state of California to process asylum refugees. The center addresses food, clothing, hygiene, medical and shelter needs. A common medical need is blisters on the feet and the need for rest.
Next, the group journeyed across the border to a house for migrants. The Casa Del Migrante in Tijuana has been operating for 36 years. It is a ministry of the “Fathers of St. Charles-Casa Del Migrante”. The staff and volunteers provide a safe space for all those who leave their countries for various reasons. In 2022, it served 1,261 people from 19 different nationalities.
When Fr. Pat Murphy, C.S., Director, was asked what we should say to the people we meet in our US places of origin, he said: “Tell them that the over whelming numbers of people are fleeing the environment of drug cartels who order them to abandon their homes so the cartel can occupy them, or parents fear their children will be recruited into the “cartel industry” of producing and trafficking drugs.”
Father Kevin Clinton reflects on “Meeting Disciples Without Borders” by “Going to the Margins.”
Did you take any pictures? Send them to us!
Email your Assembly pictures to email@example.com and we’ll share them with our members!
Assembly Featured Presenters
More information coming soon.
Brian P. Flanagan
Dr. Brian Flanagan completed his Ph.D. in 2007, writing a dissertation on the ecumenist and theologian Jean-Marie Tillard, O.P. In addition to revising that work for publication, Dr. Flanagan continues his research in ecclesiology, ecumenism, and Jewish-Christian dialogue, particularly through the Ecclesiological Investigations Network and the Ecclesiological Investigations Group of the American Academy of Religion.
At Marymount University, Dr. Flanagan is able to indulge both his research and his passion for teaching. In the foundational “Theological Inquiry” course and upper-level courses in ecclesiology, Christology, and sacramental theology, Dr. Flanagan draws upon the diversity of his students’ experiences and his own study of Christian theology to create a classroom focused on shared critical inquiry.
Flanagan is completing a three-year term as president of the College Theology Society. Founded in 1954 as a Roman Catholic organization of lay and religious teachers of undergraduate theology, CTS is a professional association of college and university professors now totaling over 500 across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Dr. Flanagan has been a member of the Society since 2002 when he was still a doctoral student at Boston College, has since served as Treasurer from 2010 to 2016
Dr. Flanagan credits CTS with positively impacting his teaching style and curriculum as a professor at Marymount, reflecting on his participation in a Society teaching workshop focused on race, racism and pedagogy that he says helped him learn how to talk about these topics in the diverse classrooms of the University.
“Most of my best teaching ideas are derived from collaboration with my colleagues at CTS and at Marymount,” Dr. Flanagan said. “The Society’s focus on combining solid research with attention to pedagogy means that talking about how to translate the study of theology and religion into forms and methods that work for our students is always part of the formal and informal conversation.”
Dr. Massimo Faggioli
Massimo Faggioli is Professor of Theology and Religious studies, Villanova University, and also a columnist for La Croix International. He gave a keynote address to the AUSCP Assembly, 2016, in Chicago, on the topic, “Pope Francis and the Unfolding of Vatican II in Today’s Church.”
The title of his 2023 presentation is The “Synodal Process” in the USA and in the Global Church: A Geography of Hope
Faggioli says, “The talk will address the similarities and differences between the USA and other synodal processes in the global Catholic Church (Australia, Germany, Ireland, etc.) and will analyze what has been specific of the US synodal process and what it says about the present and future of the Catholic Church in the USA.”
Dr. Massimo Faggioli is full professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University (Philadelphia). His books and articles have been published in more than ten languages. He is columnist for the magazines Commonweal and La Croix International. His most recent publications include the books: A Council for the Global Church. Receiving Vatican II in History (Fortress, 2015); The Rising Laity. Ecclesial Movements since Vatican II (Paulist, 2016); Catholicism and Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Liturgical, 2017); The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis. Moving Toward Global Catholicity (Orbis, 2020); Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States (Bayard, 2021). He has co-edited with Catherine Clifford The Oxford Handbook of Vatican II (Oxford UP, 2022), and is under contract with Oxford University Press for the book God’s Bureaucrats. A History of the Roman Curia.
Cecilia González-Andrieu, PhD.
Keynote Address: Bridge people or neglected and peripheral? Latinas/Latinos Catholics in the U.S.
Caught between cycles of attentiveness from official Church structures that then slip back into invisibility and marginality, how do we accompany Latinas/Latinos by facing la realidad of contemporary struggles with them? Cecilia González-Andrieu invits us into a process of discerning how to best accompany and bring to the center communities that are divers, complex and seeking a faith to call home.
Cecilia González-Andrieu is professor of Theology at Loyola Marymount University, where she also works on multiple initiatives to serve the Latinx community, especially undocumented students and worker’s rights. A graduate of LMU and the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, where she was named Alumna of the Year, she is a contributing writer for America Magazine and publishes and speaks widely as a public theologian. Committed to a faith that does justice, she is also a member of the board of directors of the Ignatian Solidarity Network and an advisor to the Discerning Deacons Project.
A respected international lecturer on issues of political theology, theological aesthetics, and Latino theology she is the author of the book Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, co-editor of Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, and a contributor to many other publications, including Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis.
Cecilia González-Andrieu es profesora de teología en Loyola Marymount University, donde también trabaja en proyectos con jóvenes indocumentados y trabajadores. Recibió el doctorado de Graduate Theological Union en Berkeley, donde ha sido nombrada Exalumna Distinguida del Año, es ensayista para la revista América, y escribe y presenta su trabajo de teología en muchos otros foros públicos. Comprometida con una fe que hace justicia, también es miembro de la junta directiva de la Red de Solidaridad Ignaciana y asesora del Proyecto Discerning Deacons – Discerniendo la restauración de las mujeres al ministerio diaconal.
Una respetada conferencista internacional en temas de teología política, estética teológica y teología latina, es autora del libro Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, coeditora de Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, y colaboradora de muchas otras publicaciones, incluyendo Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis.
Nancy Sylvester, IHM
Retreat Leader & Contemplative Facilitator
Sr. Nancy Sylvester is the Founder and President of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue.
Nancy Sylvester is founder and President of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue (ICCD) which began in 2002. Nancy is committed to the transforming power of communal contemplation in one’s life and the life of the community. She believes it invites the shifts in consciousness so necessary to embrace our evolutionary journey and engage the critical issues facing us in ways that foster dialogue, relationships, compassion and justice.
Nancy is a past President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and past vice-president of her religious congregation the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI. Nancy served on the staff of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, for fifteen years, first as researcher, then lobbyist and ten years as National Coordinator. Prior to coming to NETWORK, Nancy taught secondary education in and around Detroit, Michigan.
Nancy guides many of ICCD’s programs including Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference. She also designs and facilitates processes related to these programs for various organizations and congregations nationally and internationally. Nancy is a known speaker and writer. She is currently writing a series of reflections on contemplation for the Global Sisters Report. Many of her writings can be found on the Institute’s website: iccdinstitute.org.