Family, Bishop Join to Support Seminar for Laity
Coday, Dennis, National Catholic Reporter
An idea born during a family gathering following a baptism has grown into an event that in each of the last three years has drawn more than 400 Catholics from Missouri and Kansas to set aside the first Saturday in June to contemplate the state and future of the Catholic church.
The event is a series of seminars, "The Church in the 21st Century," that began in 2003. This year's topic was "Spirituality for the 21st Century: Experiencing God in the Catholic Tradition." (See accompanying story.)
The seminar series was inaugurated to provide a forum for reflection and conversation on central issues facing the church today, according to Richard Miller, who along with his parents, Dick and Bernadette Miller, are the founders of the series sponsored through the Millers' Catholic Community Foundation of Kansas City.
Richard Miller recently completed a doctorate in theology at Boston College and will begin teaching theology at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., this fall. It was at his son's baptism party in 2002 that the idea of the seminar arose in discussion with his son's grandparents; godfather, Fr. Michael Himes; and baptizer, Jesuit Fr. Michael Buckley.
Richard Miller told NCR that the seminars are grounded in a study of church history and historical theology.
"Studying history," he said, "brings the recognition that there have been changes, development in the church." Understanding that, he said, prevents one from taking one point along the line of development and making it an absolute.
Dick Miller, Richard's father, drew an example from his profession, trial lawyer. "The law has changed significantly because of science and technology," he said. The church and how people live their faith have changed for the same reasons.
"We're in a society and culture that is changing, which is why you've got to keep educating people," he said. …