Dr. Matthew Cressler, SBU class of ’06, has been selected as this year’s Fr. Jerome Kelly Speaker for Francis Week at St. Bonaventure University.
His talk, “A Catholic Case for Reparation,” will be given at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in the University Chapel. A short reception will follow in the Doyle Dining Room.
An assistant professor of religious studies at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, Cressler will combine autobiography and history to show the Catholic church’s case for reparation. Francis of Assisi was told to “Go and repair (God’s) home which, as you see, is all being destroyed.”
Cressler also will explore the question Do Catholics have a unique responsibility to repair a nation broken by racial injustice?
When Cressler attended St. Bonaventure, he earned degrees in theology and history, received the Ideal Bonaventure Man award, and was involved with Students for the Mountain.
During his three-day visit to campus, Cressler will also be visiting some history and Clare College classes, presenting at Thursday Faculy/Staff Forum, and speaking at Mt. Irenaeus.
Francis’ call to repair the church is also the inspiration for his Sept. 30 talk at the Mountain. Cressler hopes to create a place for meditation on the world’s brokenness and the call to be healers, building communities founded on justice and peace.
At the Thursday Forum on Oct. 1 at the University Club, Cressler will discuss his book manuscript titled “From Conversation to Revolution: the Rise of Black Catholic Chicago.”
Maggie Morris, program manager of Bona Buddies and director of the Warming House, said everyone is encouraged to attend the Kelly Lecture because the topic is an important one that can lead to positive changes in the community.
“We continue to see centuries of racism and injustice erupting in horrible violence in communities throughout our country,” said Morris. “All members of our university and local community should attend Dr. Cressler’s lecture as it will be a thoughtful proposal for a more equitable and just society.
The topics of Cressler’s talks also tie in with the campus dialogue on race and ethnicity, dubbed #RaceMatters, and the campus common read for 2015-16, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.”
“A departure from the reactionary messages coming out of major news outlets and divisive memes shared on social media, this lecture has the potential to open up new and meaningful dialogue in our university and local community,” Morris said.
Francis Week activities, including the Kelly Lecture, are sponsored by a generous gift from John, ’58, and Kay Meisch of Canandaigua.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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