ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Bishop Arthur J. Kennedy will begin the Rockford Diocese’s Year of Faith Lecture series, Dec. 2, at St. Rita Church, 6254 Valley Knoll Drive, Rockford, and set the stage for the other talks in the series hosted by Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, David J. Malloy.
Bishop Kennedy's topic, "Faith: the Heart of Vatican II and the Foundation of the New Evangelization" will provide a look at the historical context of the Second Vatican Council as well as its importance for today.
Bishop Kennedy is currently an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Boston and serves as the Episcopal Vicar for the New Evangelization there. He was appointed to that post by Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley in 2010.
Bishop Kennedy has served as rector of St. John's Seminary since July 2007. In five years, he has been instrumental in significantly increasing the number of seminarians enrolled, advancing the cardinal's goal of expanding the seminary to a regional presence, enhancing the seminary's status of national prominence in its academic and faith formation programs while establishing new programs that prepare seminarians and lay leaders for the future.
During his tenure at the seminary, the cardinal and Bishop Kennedy announced the establishment of the new institute of faith formation at St. John's. Embracing and expanding the seminary's current offerings for the laity as well as for permanent deacons and professed religious, the new institute is called the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization, known as TINE.
The TINE program includes Master of Arts in Ministry; certificates in catechesis, Scripture, and apologetics; a new degree program (the master of Theological Studies for the New Evangelization); and scholarship funding for the programs through the Promise for Tomorrow Fund.
Bishop Kennedy was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 1966 and spent the following eight years of service at parishes in Methuen and East Boston.
In 1974 Cardinal Medeiros granted him permission to accept a position as a member of the theology faculty at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.
When the university later established a Catholic Studies program, Bishop Kennedy was named a faculty member in that department, and was also director of a master of arts in theology program at St. Paul Seminary.
In more recent years, he has served as chair of the Theology Department at St. Thomas and executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
In 2010, he was ordained by Cardinal O'Malley as an auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston along with auxiliary Bishop Peter J. Uglietto.
"It is an honor for our diocese to have Bishop Kennedy speak on a topic for which he is not only experienced, but also very committed," said Bishop Malloy.
Each speaker in the Year of Faith Lecture Series was personally selected and invited by Bishop Malloy, who will act as host for each lecture, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. with evening prayer.
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei..., Pope Benedict XVI declared that a "Year of Faith" would begin on October 11, 2012 and conclude on November 24, 2013. During this time, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith. In addition to Bishop Malloy’s lecture series, the Rockford Diocese has prepared resources and activities to help the faithful in Northern Illinois in that study. Background and resources can be found at http://yearoffaith.rockforddiocese.org
"I look forward to these lectures being well-attended," said Bishop Malloy. "I truly believe the insights from these very knowledgeable speakers will assist our diocesan Catholic people in fulfilling the request of our Holy Father to deepen their relationship with Christ in this Year of Faith, and provide a rich understanding of church documents and teaching," he said.
After a brief introduction, Bishop Kennedy will begin his lecture at 7 p.m. There will be generous time for questions followed by social time with the speaker and Bishop Malloy.
The public is invited to attend these lectures. The lectures are free but in keeping with the charitable component of The Year of Faith, a collection of toys, mittens, gloves and socks will be collected for Catholic Charities as 'admission' to the Dec. 2.
Each lecture will also be available live on the diocesan website at www.rockforddiocese.org.