Friday February 2, 2007

Marins to Speak on Small Faith Communities

The Rev. Jose Marins, an internationally-known Catholic theologian and social activist who has focused on the development of grassroots faith, will speak about the formation of small faith communities at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 19 in the Sears Recital Hall.

Prior to his free evening lecture "Small Church Communities, the Next Challenge," Marins will meet with UD students and UD's Marianist community during the day. Parking for the lecture is free and available in lots B and C.

Brazilian priest Marins is widely recognized not only for his work in developing small scale faith communities in Latin America, but also for his participation with the Latin American Bishops Conference and controversial liberation theology, which suggested a more activist role for the Catholic Church in seeking social justice.

"Father Marins has been at the forefront of forming base Christian communities in Latin America," said Nick Cardilino, director of UD's Campus Ministry Center for Social Concern. "Since so many small villages either didn't have a priest or only saw a traveling priest once in awhile, they began forming small groups to pray and to study scripture together."

In the 1970s and 1980s, Cardilino said those small groups of 12 to 20 people often grew out of communities of great poverty and oppression. The central idea of liberation theology – that religious communities should be politically active – came from this movement of grassroots churches.

Marins was a member of the Second Vatican Council and has been a leader in a number Latin American church conferences and efforts. For more than 30 years, he has led a team that travels throughout the world, working with Catholics in Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, the Philippines, India, Korea, Thailand, Africa and Europe to form small faith communities.

Marins believes in "church from below," and its ability to shape the lives and the faith of people in third world countries.

Marins' visit is sponsored by the Rector's Office, Campus Ministry, Center for International Programs, Honors and Scholars, College of Arts and Sciences, Academic Affairs and Learning Initiatives, International Studies, Professor of Faith and Culture, Forum on Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Religious Studies and the International Center for Marianist Formation.

For more information, contact Amy Anderson at the Center for International Programs at 937-229-3514 or aanderson@udayton.edu