Dean's Corner

Ad Extra - Vol. 1, n.6: April 2012

Dean's Corner

April 2012

by C. J. Renz, OP

Typically, I don't like seeing something empty – my class roster, my herb garden, my cookie jar, and especially my chocolate stash!

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The word “empty” is derived from two Old English words: “without” and “to be obliged (to),” thus leading to the notion in Old English of “without obligation” or “leisure.” This understanding is very different than our contemporary common usage which implies more of an absence or lack. My empty chocolate stash definitely has obligations attached to it. Somebody better fill it back up!

Nevertheless, this Old English usage provides something worthwhile for an Easter reflection. The fact that the tomb is empty need not be experienced as a deficiency. Rather, what appears as privation is in fact a reality that provides for me a life without obligation – I have been freed of my sins … washed completely clean through no effort of my own! Furthermore, I now live in a kind of leisure because “…the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). So, I know that I am glad, truly glad for this emptiness.

Christos Aneste!

Faculty Updates

Fr. Joe Boenzi, SDB, will be in Detroit from April 10-12 to represent the provincial of the Salesians of the California Province at a meeting of leadership of religious and lay groups promoting the spirituality and pastoral methods of St. Francis de Sales. On April 21st, he will join the community at Don Bosco Hall to host a "Youth Summit" of youth and young adults on themes of justice and youth empowerment. And finally, as part of the event organizing committee, he will attend a reunion of "Don Bosco Past Pupils of California" from April 28-29 in Watsonville, California.

Sr. Marianne Farina, CSC, was interviewed as part of the DivInnovations series that is jointly sponsored by “State of Formation,” an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders,” and the Journal for Interreligious Formation. As the website describes it, The DivInnovations series represents an exciting new collaboration in an effort to capture dynamic research, initiatives, partnerships, and projects (particularly interfaith in nature) at seminaries, divinity schools, and graduate theological settings in general across the nation. The website recently posted a profile of DSPT dspt as part of this series.

She also will be involved in two programs addressing critical social justice issues. The first program will be on the issue of religious prejudice and is entitled “Critical Discourses on Islamophobia: Symbols, Images and Representations” which will be held from April 20-21, 2012 at the UC Berkeley Boalt Law School. For more information see the UC Berkeley website dspt .

The second event will focus on ways religious communities can support legislative measures to end capital punishment in California. The program will include panel discussions and time for prayerful reflection. Entitled, "Requiem for the Death Penalty" it will be held on April 22 from 3:00-5:30 here at DSPT. For more information see the Requiem for the Death Penalty website dspt.

Fr. Michael Fones, OP, will be giving his fifth and final parish mission for the year at St. Thomas More Parish, Portland, OR, April 21-24. The theme is “Discovering the Pearl of Great Price.”

Sr. Barbara Green, OP, is submitting two papers this month which will be read at two conferences this summer. The first is entitled, "God's Holy Spirit: A Back-Story from the Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37-50)," and will be read at The Spirit and Discernment in Hebrew and Christian Scriptures Experts' Meeting in Biblical Spirituality which will be held at the Carmelite Institute of Malta (University of Malta). The second is entitled, "Catalyzing Compassion: Jeremiah?" and will be read at The Bible and Spirituality Symposium at Glenfell House, Cheltenham England. Both conferences are in May 2012.

Fr. Hilary Martin, OP, conducted through the Owl of Minerva, a discussion in scholastic form, "Can any politician tell the truth." Later in April he will give a talk about Australian Aboriginal Spirituality at St. Columba's Catholic Church in Oakland.

Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP, will have his book, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography dspt published at the end of April 2012. The book was mentioned recently in the cover story of Newsweek, and is listed at the top of the bestseller list for new biographies of Catholic saints at