From June 21-24, leading Catholic educators will converge on Pasadena, California, for the first Adeodatus Conference on Catholic Education and Culture, organized by Dr. Alex Lessard and his wife, Angela, and co-sponsored by Thomas Aquinas College. “The vision that Angela and I have for this conference — and the two that will follow in 2024 and 2025 — is that it will broaden the conversation about the renewal of Catholic education beyond the circle of those already convinced of its importance and engaged in it,” says Dr. Lessard.
Given the propensity of Thomas Aquinas College alumni to devote themselves to education, it is no surprise that more than a quarter of the conference speakers are graduates of the college. Their number includes scholarly authors Dr. Michael Waldstein , who translated St. John Paul II’s Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, and Dr. Arthur Hippler, author of Citizens of the Heavenly City: A Catechism of Catholic Social Teaching. There are also several, such as Dr. Josef Froula, Rev. Sebastian Walshe, and Pater Edmund Waldstein, O. Cist., who teach in colleges and seminaries. Speaking from a vast trove of experience in elementary, high school, and college education, meanwhile, is Dr. Andrew Seeley, a veteran tutor on the California campus who co-founded the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and is the executive director of the Arts of Liberty Project.
Alongside numerous College alumni, other speakers include theologian Rev. Robert Spitzer, S.J.; celebrated poet and critic Dr. James Matthew Wilson; Chesterton Academies founder Dale Ahlquist; and many more.
“We hold the ambitious hope that the Adeodatus Conferences will echo the educational efforts of the U.S. Bishops’ Baltimore Plenary Conferences, which were so successful in growing and transforming Catholic education in the 19th and 20th centuries,” says Dr. Lessard. “It’s appropriate, in the long wake of Vatican II, that laity are contributing to the renewal of what the bishops began then.”
Comments from the clergy affirm the Lessards’ high hopes. “Our world is in urgent need of the transformative light of the truth, which illuminates the mind and satisfies the heart,” says Pater Edmund. “We therefore need a renewal of Catholic education, from its deepest sources, so that that light can pierce the shadows that encompass us and reach the hearts and minds of our young people. As its name implies, Adeodatus is a godsend for such renewal.”
Full story from Thomas Aquinas College release.