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News Series Explores a Very Ancient Profession of Faith

A new breakfast forum on the basic tenets of the Catholic tradition launches with a thought-provoking series focused on the words of the Apostle’s Creed. Under the heading “I Believe,” guest presenters will take the individual phrases of the Creed and add flesh and bones to the familiar words, reflecting in relatable ways on how they can help us dig deeper into our faith lives. 

The Pilgrim Forum, the brainchild of Daniel J. Ritter Sr., is coordinated by Dan Robinson MTS ’06 (Mission & Student Affairs) and Julie Massey ’87 (Mission & Ministry). Ritter, Robinson says, is a generous friend of the college who wanted to create an opportunity for Catholics to engage with the theological building blocks of their faith, but in a different and more engaging way.

Robinson says, “It was obvious that Dan was passionate about this, and he backed up that passion with his generosity by sponsoring what eventually has become the Pilgrim Forum.” 

In 1988, Ritter created an endowment that is now funding this new series as well as the Ritter Forum on Public Affairs. In his 2005 book, “a.k.a God: Faith & Flexibility, the Strongest Bond,” Ritter describes himself as a “practicing, but unlicensed, metaphysician.”

I believe
Bishop Robert Morneau opens the series Oct. 15, with his presentation on “I Believe: Exploring the Nature and Mystery of Faith.” Each semester following, a different speaker will pick up the thread.

The Apostle’s Creed theme came at the suggestion of Bob Pyne (Community Engagement), who says that the Creed represents a communal understanding of our faith that has proven its value over hundreds and hundreds of years. We share this faith articulation, he notes, and so it offers a good framework around which to build a deep discussion on our faith tradition in a communal setting.

Robinson explains that the forum’s intent is to create an opportunity for deeper engagement with, and reflection upon, these building blocks of the Catholic tradition for the entire community: “This series is one example of the college's commitment to serve the local community and to provide opportunities for everyone to reflect on their faith, which is in keeping with our Norbertine tradition.”

On a more personal level, Robinson says the Creed resonates with him “because it has done so for people for almost 1,800 years. There is a collective wisdom contained within it that I need to reflect on and engage with.”

In God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
Howard Ebert ’74 (Religious Studies), will give the second lecture – “In God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth” – on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. 

Ebert says that the Creed can be used in our lives as a touchstone for our Christian faith, practices and lives. Those who came before us taught us to recognize the Creed “as a concentrated expression of central beliefs, beliefs that shape and orientate us.” The Creed, he says, “helps focus our attention, our prayers and our lives on the central, essential matters of the faith. [It] helps to guide our meditation and reflection on the central mysteries of the faith – mysteries that need to be pondered, reflected upon and embraced in gratitude and joy.”

What is most important, he emphasizes, is the Creed’s “fundamental assertion, that is interwoven through every line: There is a gracious God who has loved all things into existence and offers God’s very self in Jesus and the Spirit and invites us into community that strives to share that presence and love with all the world.”

He says: “The Creed helps me to keep my life focused on the essentials of the faith. [It helps] me recognize my connection with all those who have gone before us in the faith and those who will come after us.”

Oct. 7, 2014