The close of the academic year ended the Archbishop Kucera Center activities after a year of significant highlights.
The Kucera Center’s fall and spring Catholic intellectual tradition reading groups were especially successful this year. The fall centered on Church documents and Catholic social teaching, while the spring focused on Catholic themes in the essays and short stories of Flannery O’Connor.
“Both groups were large and energetic, with lots of good conversation,” David Cochran, director of the Archbishop Kucera Center, said. “In fact, in the spring, the group was so eager to continue that we chose two more O’Connor stories and added another session at the end of the semester.”
The Center’s mission is to support Catholic intellectual and spiritual life at Loras College and in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. It sponsors workshops, symposia, speakers, internships, research, retreats, travel and other activities consistent with this mission, both on campus and across Northeastern Iowa.
Other highlights from the year include:
- Supporting the cost of bringing in Fr. Dan Mode, Division Director of Plans and Operations for the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, and Lt. Col. Dedra Tentis, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), to participate in a panel on Catholic teaching on war and peace issues sponsored by the Faith and Values Education Committee. In addition, Paul Engler, who has a background in the Catholic Worker movement, spoke on nonviolence as our International Day of Peace speaker.
- Supporting faculty scholarships connected to the Catholic intellectual tradition included conference participation and travel for research for five faculty members, as well as helping with a book launch for Dr. Kevin Koch’s new book on Irish and American Midwest spirituality.
- Continuing on-campus support of the Rite of Christian Adults (RCIA) and retreat costs, the Spiritual Life Office’s interfaith student intern and its summer interfaith peace institute, and the CORE team’s regular Holy Spirits and Biblical Brews faithsharing talks.
- Supporting speakers and retreats across northeastern Iowa, and to sponsor the radio broadcast of Christmas and Easter masses for those unable to get to church for those feast days.
- Helping launch the first annual Connections Institute, a two-day gathering of faculty from Iowa’s six Catholic colleges and universities centering on learning about the Catholic intellectual tradition and how it can inform their work back on their home campuses.
- Hosted successful fall and spring Pastoral Leadership Study Days. The fall day centered on “Promoting Vocations” and featured Archbishop Jackels and other Archdiocesan and parish officials sharing context, trends, and successful strategies. The spring day addressed the “Challenges and Opportunities of Marriage Ministry in the 21st Century” and featured presentations by Greg and Julie Alexander, who run a national apostolate dedicated to the education and enrichment of marriage and family life.
- The Loras Press, under Dr. John Waldmeir, continued to draw on Archbishop Kucera Center support in its work with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to publish an impressive array of local parish history materials, as well as a beautiful print of prayers and reflections presented at a service of lament for victims of clergy sexual abuse organized by the Loras Spiritual Life Office earlier this year.
“The support provided to the Archbishop Kucera Center by its generous donors continues to bear much good fruit,” said Cochran.