Artist and Theologian to Co-Present 2023 Catholicism and the Arts Lecture, Nov. 15

Artist and Theologian to Co-Present 2023 Catholicism and the Arts Lecture, Nov. 15

Details of artworks by co-lecturer Becky McIntyre.

Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies, theologian Maureen H. O’Connell, PhD, and community artist Becky McIntyre will host a lively discussion about “synodality” – the recent roundtable conversations in which bishops and laypeople around the globe spoke directly to one another about their experiences in the Catholic church.

How can the arts enliven young adults’ engagement in the global synod on participation, communion, and mission currently unfolding in the Catholic church?

Theologian Maureen H. O’Connell, PhD, and community artist Becky McIntyre were deeply involved in the synodal journey of the Diocese of Philadelphia. With an eye to the way that tapping the creative and artistic senses frees the conversation for genuine participation, they will share their experiences and offer ways to carry the conversation forward in preparation for next year’s final discussions of synodality in Rome.

Free and open to the public, their lecture, titled “We Are the Now of the Church: Young Adults, the Global Synod, and the Arts,” will take place on Wednesday, November 15 at 5 p.m. in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall.

Both visiting lecturers took part in a community-arts based approach to the synodal journey embraced by the 13 colleges and universities of the Synodality in Catholic Higher Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (SCHEAP). Using six images that accompanied SCHEAP’s synthesis report from the Diocesan Stage, as well as an interactive visual arts installment, “A Window into the Future of the Church,” they will identify how artistic encounters enliven participation, increase our capacity for communion, and expand our capability for imagination and visualizing dreams.

Becky McIntyre is a community visual artist living in Philadelphia. A graduate of St. Joseph's University, she uses her creativity to bring awareness to sociopolitical issues and the transformative and healing nature of art. A youth counselor and a chief of operations for the nonprofit Walls for Justice, McIntyre regularly creates cover art for the Los Angeles Catholic Agitator newspaper and is the visual artist for the Synodality in Catholic Higher Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia project.

Maureen H. O’Connell, PhD, is professor of Christian Ethics in the Department of Religion and Theology at La Salle University, where she teaches courses on peace and justice, feminist theology, racial justice, and community organizing. Her newest book, Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of American Catholic Anti-Blackness (Beacon Press 2021) explores the interplay of her Catholic and racial identities across her family’s history in the City of Philadelphia. She serves on the boards of Cranaleith Spiritual Center (a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy), and the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies. She also serves as director of the Synod and Higher Education for Discerning Deacons, where she works to animate the synodal process in the context of Catholic higher education in the U.S.

Please join us in person for the 2023 Catholicism and the Arts lecture at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall, located at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. This lecture is free and open to the public, and will also be livestreamed. To register for the livestream and learn more about Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies, please visit

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