Center for Catholic Studies Programs

Dedicated to providing the University and local community, and in serve to the Church, these programs focus on the social issues and reflect the cultural faith practice of Southwest regional Catholic traditions. Key elements of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Catholic Social Teachings, and the Characteristics of a Marianist University are reflected upon within all of the Center’s programs and events. 

The Center hosts and co-hosts program that engage in presentations and research, conversations and dialogue around issues important to the Church and people of faith.


Biblical Meditations

The emailed meditations presented by the Center for Catholic Studies in collaboration with Academic Technology Services and University Ministry are readings of Biblical text with musical reflections recited and performed by members of the St. Mary’s University community. They are offered as an opportunity to bring the Word of God into mindfulness while providing a moment of calm and peace.


Blue and Gold Go Green

Reflecting the importance of the care for creation in Catholic social teachings and intellectual tradition and in Marianist spirituality, Blue and Gold Go Green brings together St. Mary’s faculty and students in discussions on discipline specific issues and actions regarding sustainability issues, local, nationally and globally.


Conference on Justice and Social Concerns

The annual Conference on Justice and Social Concerns provides the St. Mary’s University campus community with the opportunity to engage with issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility for the common good. The conference is meant to invoke dialogue and even debate, recognizing the value of critical thinking and healthy tension that can occur among new and different perspectives and adopt methods for thoughtful critique and questioning. 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 Conference includes a keynote lecture supported by the Lin Great Speakers Series endowment.


Convocation for Catholic Faculty & Administrators

The Convocation for Catholic Faculty & Administrators brings together faculty, staff and administrators from Texas Catholic colleges, universities, and other schools of higher learning to discuss issues of importance to provide opportunities for learning, collaboration and community building in support of the needs of the Church.


Crossroads Symposium

The Crossroads Symposium is a free, annual lecture series featuring men and women who have shaped the Catholic Intellectual Tradition – a tradition at the heart of the educational enterprises at St. Mary’s. Speakers from various faith traditions are invited to speak to the University and San Antonio communities about such topics as Catholicism in a changing world, religion in a pluralistic society, and faith in areas such as art and science.

The symposium is one of the cornerstones of the Center for Catholic Studies.


The Edward and Linda Speed Catholic Studies Faculty Development and Research Fund

The Edward and Linda Speed Catholic Studies Faculty Development and Research Fund is an endowed fund used solely for the purpose of supporting St. Mary’s faculty in their professional development, growth in knowledge, and research related to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) and Catholic Social Teaching (CST). The Fund provides faculty with an opportunity to embrace our Catholic heritage more tangibly and intentionally, mission and its teachings.


Engaging the Mission Conversations

Engaging the Mission Conversations are monthly discussions hosted by the Center for Catholic Studies during which specific mission-related topics will be presented. Each session reflects upon a different characteristic of a Marianist university with faculty who engage the topic and have successfully connected it to principles of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the Marianist Educational Characteristics.


The Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Visiting Scholar Lecture Series

Thanks to a generous gift from former Board of Trustees Chairman Ruben Escobedo, a 1960 graduate of St. Mary’s, and his wife Veronica Salazar Escobedo, the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series was created and allows St. Mary’s University to share the remarkable illuminated pages with members of the St. Mary’s community, and with faith communities from across Texas and the nation. Each year, outstanding biblical scholars are invited to campus to give public presentations to enhance the interdisciplinary nature of our campus and community learning, while connecting our students and community to the creative, scholarly, and spiritual possibilities of the Saint John’s Bible currently on campus.

In addition to the public lectures, each semester artistic events will take place that will bring together professional artists, scholars, teachers and students to work alongside our campus and local communities to foster the importance of the sacramental imagination as is present in the illuminations and calligraphy of The Saint John’s Bible.


The Lin Lecture Great Speaker Series

The Lin Great Speakers Series is presented to the public as a community service. The lectures are made possible by an endowment established in memory of Shu-Chi Lin by his widow, Mrs. Chang Le-Chiao Lin, and their son, Vincent Lin, Ph.D., a St. Mary’s alumnus and former faculty member. Lectures feature Nobel laureates and other distinguished speakers who represent music and the arts, science, engineering, technology and medicine, humanities and global interests, and economics, business and law. Topics of lectures have included health care, interfaith dialogue and the challenges of globalization.

Each year, as part of the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, the Lin Great Speakers Series lecture brings the local and campus communities together to explore important social justice issues affecting society.


The MacTaggart Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series

Glenn MacTaggart (J.D. ’79, M.A. ’89), longtime attorney and counsel with Prichard Hawkins Young LLP, and his wife, Karla MacTaggart, gave a major gift to St. Mary’s to create the MacTaggart Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series Endowment. The gift allows for the recruitment of speakers from various faith traditions to speak to the University and San Antonio communities about such topics as Catholicism in a changing world, religion in a pluralistic society, and faith in areas such as art and science. The lecture series will be one of the cornerstones of a Center for Catholic Studies that St. Mary’s is in the process of establishing, which is a result of the University’s Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign.


Marianist Visiting Scholar in Residence

The Marianist Visiting Scholar in Residence program is part of Marianist Heritage Week and brings a Marianist, vowed religious or lay, who embodies the Marianist tradition, spirituality and educational characteristics through personal, spiritual, professional and scholarly achievement. The scholar presents a lecture and visits with faculty, staff and students, especially the Marianist Educational Associates and students in the Marianist Leadership Program.


The Marianist Table

Setting the Marianist table is a metaphor for all things Marianist. This program takes place after Mass in the cafeteria and is an opportunity to discuss and build the Marianist spirituality our of campus community in a family spirit over food, discussion, and prayer.


New Faculty Mentor for Mission Program

The New Faculty Mentor for Mission Program helps the University build “a community of scholars who engage in an academic environment that is nourished by our Catholic mission and Marianist identity in order to form people in faith and justice.” (Characteristics of Marianist Universities, 2019, 19) The program offers a mentor workshop, monthly gatherings, mentor-mentee one-on-ones, a mentee retreat, and a final reception all intended to:

  • Welcome and provide collegial support for our new faculty.
  • Build a foundational understanding of Catholic and Marianist thought processes.
  • Explore the impact of Catholic and Marianist values and spirituality on teaching.
  • Provide resources for establishing a faculty member’s personal mission-related library.

Sacramentality of Teaching

In collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the Sacramentality of Teaching program provides best practices in curricular and administrative integration of Catholic teachings, interdisciplinary pedagogy, and faith-based spirituality. Faculty and administrators will experience exemplars who demonstrate pedagogical models that connect Catholic philosophy and theological reflection as a part of the acquisition of information, understanding, critique, and academic application within a diversity of disciplines and leadership styles.

The program is comprised of four seminar-based workshops provided on four different weekends through the academic year. Each workshop will serve 40 participants. Participants will complete pre-and post-tests to measure the change in knowledge and skills gained from the program. The four workshops will be centered on the themes:

  • Seeing Students and Colleagues as the Image of Jesus Christ
  • Educating for Wholeness
  • Sustaining the Gospel Witness within a Catholic Worldview
  • Shaping Community through Accessibility
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