USF to Host XXXII Paul Wattson Lecture on Christian Unity

His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper to speak on the future of ecumenism

SAN FRANCISCO—(February 8, 2011)-- The University of San Francisco (USF) is excited to announce the 2011 XXXII Paul Wattson Lecture Hope for the Future of Ecumenism featuring Cardinal Walter Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The lecture will take place on Monday, February 21, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in Saint Ignatius Church located on the University’s main campus (650 Parker Avenue San Francisco, CA 94117).

Cardinal Kasper’s lecture entitled, Hope for the Future of Ecumenism, will cover the debate over whether ecumenism is petering out as we near 50 years since the beginning of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The talk is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Koret Parking Lot on the corner of Turk and Parker streets, just across from St. Ignatius Church.

“We are delighted to have such a knowledgeable and experienced leader be our speaker for the 2011 lecture,” said Fr. David J, Poirier, SA, Director for the XXXII Paul Wattson Lecture. “Cardinal Kasper’s deep commitment to building bridges and continuing the dialogue between faiths is inspiring and relevant. Attendees on February 21 are in for a terrific, thought-provoking presentation.”

Cardinal Walter Kasper has been intimately involved with the search for unity among Christians and has been an adamant promoter of rapprochement with the Jewish people. He recently retired after having served 11-years on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, nine of the years of as president. He is a widely published author not only on the subject of ecumenical and inter-religious topics, but also on an array of theological inquiries. His publications include “Anti-Semitism: A wound to be healed for the European day of Jewish culture,” and “That They May All Be One: The Call To Unity Today.”

Cardinal Kasper was born on March 5, 1933 in Heidenheim/Brenz, Germany. He was ordained for the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart on April 6, 1957 and holds a doctorate in theology from the Theological Faculty of Tübingen.

The Paul Wattson Lectures honor the memory of the Rev. Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A., an early proponent of Christian unity who began the Church Unity Octave and who is the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, a Roman Catholic religious community working towards interreligious understanding and dialogue. These annual lectures feature international leaders in ecumenism and interreligious efforts contributing to the friars’ mission with their expertise.

For more information on the upcoming XXXII Paul Wattson Lecture Series event, or any other inquiries about the University of San Francisco, please contact abdevine@usfca.edu or 415-422-2697.

About the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are a religious community of brothers and priests founded in 1898 by Father Paul Wattson. Their worldwide ministries include Christian unity; interfaith dialogue among Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists; serving the homeless and those suffering from alcoholism, drug addictions, and HIV/AIDS; preaching the gospel in parishes around the world, and offering respite and hope to those in need of spiritual renewal.

About USF

Established in 1855, USF is San Francisco’s oldest university and is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country. The University of San Francisco is committed to being a premier Jesuit Catholic, urban university with a global perspective that educates leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world. With nearly 9,600 students enrolled both on- and off-campus, the university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as persons and professionals, and the values and sensitivity necessary to be men and women for others.