Webinar: Moving toward Mutuality: Five Plus Decades on the Catholic-Jewish “Journey of Friendship”

Thursday, July 16, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. 

A special program offered in collaboration with the Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center

This virtual presentation is Co-Sponsored by Rev. George Balasko in memory of Rabbi Samuel Meyer as part of the Villa Maria Annual Nostra Aetate Lecture Series

Since the Second Vatican Council in 1965, interactions between Jews and Catholics have become more frequent and positive than ever before in history. Official and informal dialogues have multiplied, and religious leaders in both communities have reconsidered and reformed long-held ideas about each other in a process that still continues. This “journey of friendship,” as Pope Francis has called it, has led to a new interreligious relationship that is exemplified by his own long friendship and dialogues with Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires. It is also depicted in an original sculpture, “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time,” at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, blessed by Pope Francis in 2015. The artwork shows the Synagogue and the Church learning from each other’s experiences of God in a relationship of mutuality. Join us for this story of a new beginning that gives great hope for the future. 

Presenter: Philip A. Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University



Catholics, Jews, and the Issues of Our Time: A Conversation between Archbishop Nelson Pérez and Rabbi Abraham Skorka

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.


Archbishop Pérez

Rabbi Skorka

Join us for a special webinar as Philadelphia’s new archbishop, the Most Rev. Nelson Pérez, and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, SJU University Professor, discuss Catholic-Jewish relations and some pressing issues facing both communities in American society today.





The Catholic-Jewish Rapprochement and the Fraying of American Pluralism

Monday, September 14, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

Seminar Room 1, Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall [campus map]

The post-Second World War “journey of friendship” between Jews and Catholics, as Pope Francis has called it, has showed the world that it is possible for two communities that had been estranged and hostile to one another for over a millennium to come together in a new and enriching relationship. Yet today our country has seen increases in inter-ethnic polemics and violence, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and polarization. What helpful lessons can be learned from the Catholic and Jewish experience of rapprochement? What preconditions were necessary for reconciliation to become possible? What was necessary for that possibility to become a deepening reality? What are the “dos” and “don’ts” for building real relationships? Our special guest speaker will discuss these and related questions.

Guest Speaker:

Rev. Dr. Walter F. Kedjierski is the Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He previously served as the Director of the Diocese of Rockville Center’s Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and as a member of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (CADEIO), the Long Island Council of Churches, and the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum. Father Kedjierski was a member of the board of trustees of the Inter-Faith Center of the Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, NY for three years. He has facilitated numerous ecumenical and interreligious dialogues, including a dialogue on non-violence with Indian Hindu scholar Swami Nikhileswarananda. He holds an Ed.D. in Interfaith and Ecumenical Education from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana and a Ph.D. in Dogmatic/Spiritual Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation’s Foundation House at Oxford University.




Questions about the Holocaust the Vatican’s World War II Archives Could Help Answer

Monday, November 9, 2020, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Seminar Room 1, Haub Executive Center, McShain Hall [campus map]

Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming is the Director of International Academic Programs at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Her area of research is the relationship between Germany and the Vatican during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII, as well as Catholic antisemitism in that period.

Having recently studied some of the newly-opened Vatican archives from World War II, Dr. Brown-Fleming will discuss their importance in understanding the actions of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust, including what are the crucial questions that those materials could help answer.