The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 16, 2013

Program celebrates 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council


Herald Staff Report

CLINTON — “Sharing the Vision” of Vatican II with a Latin American bishop, a Franciscan nun who led American Catholic Sisters during the Vatican investigation of their leadership organization, and a young, feminist theologian whose nationally published columns challenge the “Vatican II generation” to speak to what today’s young people need to know about what is called the most significant event in modern Church history is all in store at the closing session of the “Celebrating Vatican II” lecture series.

The Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley will conclude the four-part lecture series they have sponsored in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church on April 21, beginning at 2 p.m. at Prince of Peace Church, Clinton.

“Celebrating Vatican II: Sharing the Vision” has offered lectures by a variety of expert commentators at venues throughout the region since October 2012. The lecture series, which explores four key themes of the Council, coincides with the “Year of Faith” being observed by the Catholic Church, and is free and open to the public.

“We developed this four-part event as a gift to the Church and the people of God in celebration of the Council. We felt a responsibility to bring a renewed awareness of the great gifts of Vatican II to the people with whom we minister throughout the Upper Mississippi River Valley,” explained Anne Martin Phelan, OSF, president of the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, and chairwoman of the organizing committee.

“It is providential that a Latin American Bishop should be with us in these days, following the election of the first Latin American Pope. We are all looking forward to his perspective on how Pope Francis might approach Vatican II heritage during his papacy.”

At the program, Dr. Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, will describe Vatican II’s invitation to read the signs of the times and respond in dedicated service; Most Rev. Daniel Turley, Bishop of Chulucanas, Peru, will reflect on ways the Church is called to solidarity with the people of God throughout the world; and Jamie Manson, columnist with the National Catholic Reporter, will speak to what young people in today’s Church need from the Vatican II generation.

Sister Weisenbeck is a member and former president (2002-2010) of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse, Wis., as well as former president of LCWR, a canonically approved membership organization that exists as a support system and corporate voice for leaders of religious institutes of Catholic Sisters in the United States. She also serves as chairwoman of the Catholic Health Association’s Sponsorship/Canon Law Committee and is a consultant in religious law.  She is past president of the National Conference of Vicars for Religious and chancellor for the Diocese of La Crosse.

Sister Weisenbeck holds a B.M. Ed. degree from Viterbo University, an M.M. from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, a J.C.L. in Canon Law from Saint Paul University-Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Bishop Turley, an Augustinian priest and a native of Chicago, is the second Bishop of Chulucanas where he has served since 1996. He was elected to the Permanent Council of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference and has been awarded an honorary doctor of Humane Letters by Villanova University, Philadelphia. In 2011 he was awarded the Peace Prize by the Peruvian government’s Ministry for Women’s Rights and Social Development in recognition of his outstanding work in defense of farmers in the Upper Piura region of the Diocese of Chulucanas. Bishop Turley insisted that farmers’ concerns about environmental degradation, which would destroy their livelihood, be heard as part of the discussion about opening a large mining operation in the area. In the process he received death threats. The Ministry called Bishop Turley “a tireless promoter of a culture of peace.”

Jamie L. Manson writes a monthly column for the National Catholic Reporter, addressing the plight of the poor, the future of the Church, issues of gender and sexual orientation, and ways of finding God’s presence in our everyday lives. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her NCR columns have won numerous awards, most recently second prize for Commentary of the Year from Religion Newswriters.

 There is no registration for the lecture series and no admission charge. Follow-up sessions to the lectures are offered in the cities where the sponsoring Sisters congregations minister.

“Celebrating Vatican II: Sharing the Vision” is sponsored by Carmelite Nuns, Eldridge; Congregation of the Humility of Mary, Davenport; Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, La Crosse; Sinsinawa Dominicans, Sinsinawa, Wis.; Sisters of Mercy, West-Midwest Region, Omaha; Benedictine Sisters, Rock Island, Ill.; Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton; and Sisters of Charity BVM, Sisters of the Presentation, Sisters of St. Francis, Sisters of the Visitation and Trappistine Nuns, all of Dubuque.

For details, see www.facebook.com/catholicsisters or call Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton at 242-7611.