Lin Great Speakers Series keynote speaker to touch on kinship and interfaith dialogue 

The St. Mary’s University Center for Catholic Studies will host the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns starting Monday, Feb. 21, through Wednesday, Feb. 23, which will include a series of talks and conversations related to bringing the community together through dialogue and action. 

The three-day event, Cultivating Community through Dialogue and Action: Synodality as Journeying Together, culminates with the Lin Great Speakers Series at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 23, featuring Rita George-Tvrtković, Ph.D. A Professor of Theology at Benedictine University in Illinois, George-Tvrtković specializes in medieval Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations and has authored books on the subject. Synodality is a term in the Catholic Church used to describe the process of togetherness and collaboration. 

Alicia Tait stands inside Assumption Chapel.
Alicia Tait

Pope Francis also appointed her to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in October 2020. Her talk, “Interfaith Friend, Interfaith Kin: Reflections on Fratelli tutti,” will focus on the Pope’s encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. You can read more about her Lin Lecture via this web feature. 

The conference includes presentations, conversations and discussions to bring the University and local leaders of faith together to speak on the topics of community, action and dialogue.  

The conference is free and open to the public. It will take place in Conference Room A of the University Center unless otherwise noted on the full schedule

“This conference is a wonderful opportunity for St. Mary’s to engage in the synodal process of the Church through an academic lens,” said Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., Associate Vice President and Beirne Director for the Center of Catholic Studies. “We hope to demonstrate the Marianist family spirit by engaging the issues that reflect the signs of the times to further the cause of peace, social justice and fraternity within and outside the Catholic community of the Southwest.” 

The event will be livestreamed and can be viewed here.

Some additional highlighted events include: 

Monday, Feb. 21  

9:20 a.m.: Synodality — Journeying Together: Pope Francis’ Vision for a Synodal Church 

10:20 a.m.: The Gift and the Grace of Suffering 

3:15 p.m.: Fragility of Conversation 

Tuesday, Feb. 22  

9:45 a.m.: Marianist Global Missions Part 1 — Africa 

2 p.m.: Marianist Global Missions Part 2 — Marianist Mission: Making a Difference One Student at a Time 

3:30 p.m.: The Importance of University Engagement with Community 

4:30 p.m.: Marianists and Communities of Color in the United States 

Wednesday, Feb. 23 

9:20 a.m.: Christians, Muslims and Mary 

10:20 a.m.: Family Spirit and Hospitality at St. Mary’s University, Student Perspective 

3 p.m.: An Intra-faith Discussion: Rites and Cultures in the Catholic Churches of San Antonio 

7 p.m.: The Lin Great Speaker Series Interfaith Friend, Interfaith Kin: Reflections on Fratelli tutti 

For a complete schedule, visit

More about the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns  

The annual conference provides the St. Mary’s University campus community with the opportunity to discuss issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility for the common good.  

The conference follows the direction set out from the Second Vatican Council to read, interpret and respond to the signs of the times (Gaudium et Spes, 4). The three-day event is hosted each year by the Center for Catholic Studies and brings together experts to lead the campus in dialogue around issues challenging our community locally and globally. The conference will always include a keynote lecture supported by the Lin Great Speakers Series endowment, which also sponsors the conference.  

The conference is meant to invoke dialogue and even debate, recognizing the value of critical thinking and healthy tension. It provides an opportunity for all to encounter new perspectives and adopt methods for thoughtful critique and questioning. The value of a Catholic, liberal arts education is to learn to engage, to think critically and creatively, to have healthy dialogue and to do so from a place of compassion and respect, rooted in love for one another and a desire to be agents of positive change in the world.  

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