Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies 2018-2019 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 2018 and 2019, Gerber Institute programming continued to focus on issues at the intersection of Catholic tradition and health care while also supporting engagement with Catholic tradition across the university.

On November 2, 2018 the Institute co-sponsored a conference on end of life care for clinicians, clergy, and the campus community. Faithful Journeys was attended by almost 200 people from across the region and featured leading speakers from Catholic healthcare and medical ethics.

Read more about the event here.

In August, the Institute sponsored the annual faculty summer symposium with keynote speaker, Bud Marr, President of the National Institute for Newman Studies. The theme of the symposium was "Newman's View of Education," and approximately 20 faculty participated in the three-day symposium, with many other faculty and staff members participating in various talks and workshops.

In September, the Institute was a lead sponsor for a presentation by the noted physicist, Dr. Stephen Barr, following the Wichita diocese's Red Mass for lawyers, jurists, and legislators. Dr. Barr spoke on "Science and Religion: The Myth of Conflict."

In November, the Institute sponsored the first ever field trip in conjunction with Newman's annual "Freshman Read." The freshmen class traveled to Topeka to learn about the history of the slave trade and underground railroad in Kansas. The class also heard from Gary Jenkins, the author of “The Immortal 10: A Story from the Kansas Underground Railroad.”

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: Dr. Stephen Barr, "Science and Religion: The Myth of Conflict"; October: Dr. Ryan Huschka, "Mysteries and Miracles of the Universe"; November: Wendy Glick of Catholic Charities"; February: Fr. Tom Welk and Travis Pearson, J.D., "End of Life: Embrace It Well"; March: Kimmy Steward, Newman Student, "A Student's Medical Missions Experience"

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

The Institute aims to promote engagement with Catholic tradition across the Newman community. In addition to academic events, the Institute also promotes Catholic culture more broadly. In February 2019, the Institute sponsored the second annual celebration of the Feast of St. Brigid for faculty and staff.

On October 11, the Institute hosted the annual Prayer Breakfast at Newman University. This year's theme was "Peace Fills My Soul" and featured performances by students, alumni, and community members.

On November 28, the Institute co-sponsored a presentation with the Theater Department by Dr. Stanley Lombardo from the University of Kansas, who spoke on Dante's Inferno.

In February, the Institute co-sponsored "The Black Inventors Showcase" with the Newman Black Student Union. The Institute also co-sponsored a presentation by historian, Dr. Daniel Wasserman-Soler, "Truth in Many Tongues: Religious Conversion in the Early Spanish Empire."

In March, the Institute co-sponsored a talk by English Professor and C.S. Lewis scholar, Dr. Mark Hall, in conjunction with the Theater Department's staging of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Dr. Hall spoke on, "Not Like a Tame Lion: Aslan as a Supposal of Christ."

In June 2019, the Institute partnered with the Eighth Day Institute to host the second annual Florovsky-Newman Week on Newman's campus. Florovsky-Newman Week, named after a noted Orthodox theologian and St. Newman, was a four day event aiming to promote theological discourse and ecumenical dialogue. In addition to many local speakers, keynote presenters from the Orthodox (Dr. Alexis Torrance), Protestant (Fr. Geoffrey R. Boyle), and Catholic (Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille) traditions gave plenary talks and engaged in public 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 2018-19 academic year. Dr. Umbarger partnered with the Eighth Day Institute to plan and run the Florovsky-Newman week conference.

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 awarded the second annual Gerber Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship to Caleb Kuestersteffen for his paper “Understanding and Evangelizing the Contemporary Pragmatic Relativist.”

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