Rev. Dr. Bernie Joseph O'Connor, a former official at the Vatican with the Congregation of Eastern Churches, shares his experience as a faculty member for the Graduate Theological Foundation.
The Rev. Fr. Bernard O'Connor is currently Scholar In Residence at the Foundation. He is Fellow and John Henry Cardinal Newman Professor of Theology and Ecclesial Mediation and for many years worked in the Vatican serving the Congregation of Eastern Churches. Read his faculty profile for a complete biography.
This month, you are at the Foundation in Mishawaka as our first "Scholar In Residence." Can you describe the work you are doing in this role?
The concept of a Scholar in Residence for the Foundation arose during a conversation with Dr. John Morgan when we met at the 2012 Commencement. I had indicated that there is a period between semesters at Indiana University Kokomo when I would be available for an academic experience beyond my customary role at IUK. And since I have been associated with the Foundation since 1996, it was reasonable to propose a brief 'residency' (three weeks) at GTF.
Thank you for speaking to the Foundation about your new book, Flourishing in the Later Years: Jewish Pastoral Insights on Senior Residential Care. Can you shed some light on how this book came to be and how your respective experience and expertise informs the work?
Rabbi James Michaels: A number of years ago, we became aware that very little had been written about the field of pastoral care in senior care settings. This was especially true for Jewish aging services. We realized the field is evolving rapidly, so we decided to solicit specialists in the field to write about the subject.
Rabbi Cary Kozberg: From our shared experience and those of colleagues, it was evident that people from the various disciplines who work with Jews living in senior residential facilities don’t always have a solid knowledge base about Judaism and Jewish culture. Often they are not prepared to effectively address the specific religious and cultural needs of Jewish residents and their families. This was the main reason that the book’s approach is multi-disciplinary.
Dr. Paul Kirbas joins us for a discussion of his new book, This Sacred Earth (Wyndham Hall Press, 2011) and how his own organization is fostering dialogue around science and religion.
Image courtesy of the editor
Dr. Kirbas is the Paul Tillich Professor of Theology and Culture here at the Foundation. For a complete biography, please visit his faculty profile. Dr. Kirbas is also offering an E-Tutorial on the subject of his new book: "God, Nature and Us: An Interdisciplinary Approach to a New Paradigm for the Human Place in Nature." (Click here for details.)
You recently edited a book, This Sacred Earth: Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Nature and Humanity's Place Within It (Wyndham Hall Press, 2011). What did you want to achieve with this book, and how did you go about putting it together?
This book is a result of a project that I was invited to lead back in 2010. The Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, asked me to bring together leading scientists, theologians, philosophers, and others for a 3 day conversation on the sanctity of nature. We gathered thinkers from around the world, and from several different faith traditions, for this conversation.