Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies 2017-2018 annual Report

“Heal the sick” was one of Jesus’ first instructions to his disciples (Matthew 10:8), and for 2,000 years Catholics have attempted to follow the example of the Great Physician. From the healing ministry of the apostles, to the founding of the first hospitals, to modern Catholic health care systems, treating the body, mind, and spirit of the sick and suffering has been at the heart of the Church’s work. In 2017 and 2018, Gerber Institute programming focused on issues at the intersection of Catholic tradition and health care while continuing to support engagement with Catholic tradition across the university.

On October 17, 2017, the Institute hosted a presentation by noted ethicist, neuroscientist, and speaker, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk titled "New Developments in the Biosciences and Bioethics." Following the presentation Fr. Tad answered questions from an audience of approximately 200, including students, faculty, staff, clergy, religious sister, and other guests.

On August 31, 2017, following the Mass of the Holy Spirit and the official matriculation ceremony to begin the academic year, Fr. John Lanzrath offered a reflection to the assembled Newman community on our namesake, Bishop Eugene J. Gerber. Fr. Lanzrath gave a powerful account of Bishop Gerber’s skill as a listener and the wonderful things he was able to accomplish for the Church as a result.

The Gerber Institute was proud to co-sponsor Fr. Lanzrath’s talk and a lunch for the community in honor of Bishop Gerber.

Lunch and Learn Series

Over the course of the academic year, the Institute hosted a series of "Lunch and Learn" sessions on campus including the following presenters and topics:

September: Becky Knapp, "Living Authentically: Appreciating the Gift of Fertility in an Increasingly Hostile World"; October: Fr. Tom Welk, "Finding Meaning in Suffering"; November: Dr. Joshua Papsdorf, "What Would Newman Do?"; January: Dr. Donna Ewy, "Encountering the Sacred in Healthcare": February: Fr. Joseph Tatro, "Catholic Anthropology and Its Application to Therapeutic Practice"; March: Jane McGuire, Director of Nursing - "How Faith Relates to Health Care Provided at Guadalupe Clinic"

Lunches were provide for all attendees and the events averaged 20-30 in attendance.

The Insitute aims to promote engagement with Catholic tradition across the Newman community. In addition to academic events, the Institue also promotes Catholic culture more broadly. In February 2018, the Institute sponsored a celebration of the Feast of St. Brigid for faculty and staff.

On April 23, 2018, the Institute hosted the annual Prayer Breakfast at Newman University. This year's theme was "Solidarity through Song" and featured performances by students, alumni, and speaker/singer Earnest Alexander.

As part of Newman's annual Literary Festival, the Institute sponsored a presentation on April 12, 2018 by noted Harry Potter scholar, Travis Prinzi, entitled “Saving Dumbledore: Moral Imagination and Forgiveness in Harry Potter’s Death.”

In July 2018, the Institute partnered with the Eighth Day Institute to host the first annual Florovsky Week on Newman's campus. Florovsky Week, named after a noted Orthodox theologian, was a four day event aiming to promote theological discourse and ecumenical dialogue. In addition to many local speakers, keynote speakers were invited from Orthodox (Bradley Nassif), Protestant (Hans Boersma) and Catholic (Kenneth Howell) traditions to offer plenary talks and also engage in dialog.

In addition to events and conferences, Gerber Institute promotes engagement with Catholic tradition by funding faculty fellowships and student grants and awards.

Dr. Matthew Umbarger, Assistant Professor of Theology, was a Gerber fellow for the 2017-18 academic year. Dr. Umbarger work as a fellow focused on his study of banquets in the biblical tradition. In addition to presenting his research on campus, he is pursuing publication of his work.

Marie O'Neal, a Newman undergraduate was awarded a grant to pursue Christian leadership training during the summer of 2018 at the Camp Wojtyla’s Servant Leadership Program in Erie, Colorado.

The Institute created a new award to recognize Newman undergraduate who engaged with Catholic tradition in their coursework. The first recipient of the Gerber Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship was Amanda Becker for her paper "Doctors at Odds" exploring the work of St. Athanasius and St. Augustine.

2017-2018 Budget Summary

Total Revenue $87,184.52


Salaries & Benefits $26,212.62

Administrative Costs $4,612.81

Programming Expenses $23,499.65

Advertising $5,000.00

Total Expenses $59,325.08

The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies

Director: Dr. Joshua Papsdorf - Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Theology • Administrative Assistant: Monica Borger

Board of Directors: Chair - Fr. John Fogliasso - University Chaplain • Dr. Kimberly Long - Provost/VPAA • Sr. Joann Mark, ASC • Beth Fatkin - Senior Development Officer • Sonja Bontrager - Assistant Professor of Spanish • Fr. Sam Brand - Chaplain, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School• Christopher Riggs - Editor, Catholic Advance • Shannon Rebolledo - Assistant District Director, U.S. Department of Labor• Caleb Kuestersteffen - Seminarian

Created By
Joshua Papsdorf