Theology department event commemorates Second Vatican Council

Religious studies chair of Catholic University of America gives keynote speech, Gift and Unfinished Task | October 20, 2003

Several members of Xavier’s theology department joined keynote speaker Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak, chair in religious studies at The Catholic University of America, to present “The Second Vatican Council: Gift and Unfinished Task,” on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cintas Center banquet room.

The event was part of a series of academic events Xavier is hosting between 2002 and 2005 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The series aims to promote a fuller understanding of the council’s achievements and the impact of the council upon the contemporary life of the church.

William Madges, chairperson of the department of theology, delivered a welcome address at 7:30 p.m., after which J. Leo Klein, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, introduced the keynote speaker. Komonchak then delivered his lecture on “Gift and Unfinished Task.”

A discussion of “Local Reflections on the Ecclesiology of Vatican II” followed at 8:30 p.m., with Edward P. Hahnenberg, assistant professor in Xavier’s department of theology, and Marie Hill, a clinical counselor and mediator, leading the discussion, which was opened to audience participants at 9:00 p.m. Desserts and beverages then were served at a 9:30 p.m. reception.

In addition to currently serving as the John and Gertrude Hubbard Chair in Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America, Komonchak has a long list of credits to his name. Ordained in 1963, he received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Gregorian University (Rome) in 1964 and his Doctorate in Philosophy at Union Theological Seminary (N.Y.) in 1976. He has taught courses and has published many articles on ecclesiology, modern theology, the thoughts of John Courtney Murray, and the history and theology of the Vatican II. He was the chief editor of The New Dictionary of Theology and is the editor of the English-language edition of the History of Vatican II, a five-volume definitive work on the Second Vatican Council. A collection of his essays was published as Foundations in Ecclisiology.

Hahnenberg is the author of Ministries: A Relational Approach. Belonging to the second generation of Catholic theologians following Vatican II, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, studying under mentors who themselves studied theology while the council was in session.

Having received her master's degree in theology from Marquette University and her master's degree in education from Xavier, Hill works as a clinical counselor and mediator at Beech Acres in Anderson Township, Ohio. She was in her 20s during Vatican II and wrote her master's thesis on John Courtney Murray and religious freedom.

For more information on the event, call the department of theology at 513 745-3026.