Bishop Robert Baker to Speak at Summer Colloquium
April 23, 2009
Mobile, Ala. – Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, bishop of Birmingham, will be the featured speaker at this year’s Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality, Summer Colloquium on Biblical Spirituality. Baker’s presentation will be the first of the three-night event titled “The Demands of Love: Recognizing Christ in Our Midst.” The Colloquium will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. June 9-11 in Byrne Memorial Hall on the Spring Hill College campus.
Ordained for the diocese of St. Augustine in 1970, Baker has served as the bishop of Birmingham since 2007. He completed his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. He has served as a parish priest, campus minister and seminary professor. Much of his work has been devoted to finding Christ in the poor, including prison ministry and outreach to the hungry, homeless and Hispanic immigrants. He is a published author; and his books include a historical novel of the Spanish Missions in Florida, “Cacique;” a series of 42 meditations on Matthew 25, with an introduction by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, “When Did We See You, Lord”; and another book of meditations based on questions about faith, “The Questioner’s Prayer.”
The three-part colloquium will be opened by Baker and followed by Spring Hill faculty Dr. Timothy Carmody and Dr. Matthew Bagot. Using the first encyclical of Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, to frame his presentation, Baker will examine the Catholic approach to Christian charity. He will draw on his years of priestly ministry to the poor to explore why and how Catholic theology insists on the centrality of charity to authentic Christian life. Dr. Carmody, professor of scripture, will speak on the Gospel of Matthew and its unique emphasis on taking care of the community, especially those most in need. Dr. Bagot, professor of ethics, will explore the long tradition of Catholic social teaching, from apostolic times through Augustine, Aquinas and the social teaching of the modern papacy.
“We are extremely honored to have Bishop Baker visit the Spring Hill campus and speak to our community,” said Fr. Christopher Viscardi, S.J., department chair of theology. “We have truly enjoyed working in conjunction with the Diocese of Birmingham to provide theological education for the community over the past two decades, and look forward to continuing to work with Bishop Baker and the Diocese.”
The Colloquium allows participants to engage a topic in depth with no prior academic experience, no assigned readings and no reflection papers. As a non-credit program, it is designed for those seeking a deeper understanding of biblical spirituality but who are not able to spend a whole week of reading and studying. The cost to attend is $75 for all three lectures or $30 each.
Spring Hill College is the oldest institution of higher education in Alabama and the third oldest Jesuit college in the U.S. Programs in theology and ministry are offered at not only at the main campus in Mobile, but also in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; and Jackson, Miss.
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